The Viking Wind Farm is a joint venture between the Shetland community and the utility company SSE.
The project got planning consent from Scottish energy minister Fergus Ewing in April 2012 but the decision was challenged through the courts by anti-wind farm campaigners. Their efforts failed and the consent was reaffirmed in February 2015.
The wind farm will consist of 103 wind turbines up to 145m tall to the blade tips, set in the central Mainland of Shetland. The consent allows a potential output of up to 457 megawatts, which would make it the third-largest wind farm in the UK.
If a 3.6MW turbine is used the maximum output would be 370.8MW – enough to meet the electricity needs of up to 335,000 homes while saving 0.61 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions each year. We hope it will become the most productive onshore wind farm in the world.
Around 140 people will be needed to work on the project during construction and around 35 permanent jobs could be created. As a result of the community shareholding, many millions of pounds could be injected into the Shetland economy annually. In addition, the islands would receive £1.85 million in community benefit every year.
The original partnership deal between the Shetland community and SSE was signed in 2007. In May 2009 an application was submitted to the Scottish Government for the construction of 150 turbines. This was followed in September 2010 by a revised application, known as an addendum, reducing the number of turbines to 127. Of these, permission was granted for 103 and denied for 24 adjacent to Scatsta Airport.
At the same time that the wind farm is under construction, a high-voltage cable will be laid to link Shetland to the UK electricity grid. It is estimated that the project will be operational in the early 2020s.
- Energy produced annually is calculated by multiplying installed capacity by hours in the year by estimated average wind farm capacity factor expressed as a fraction of 1. This is 370.8 x 8760 x 0.44 = 1,429,211.52MWh. Latest statistics from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) assume annual UK average domestic household consumption as 4,266kWh (4.266MWh). Homes powered equivalent is calculated by dividing the total energy produced by the average household electricity consumption = 335,024 homes.
- DECC’s carbon saving factor (July 2013) is 0.43kg (or 430g) of CO2 saved per kilowatt-hour of wind power generated. Multiplied by Viking’s annual production of 1,429,211.52MWh, the calculated carbon saving is 614,561 tonnes each year.
- Extrapolation from Viking Environmental Statement, May 2009 based on turbine numbers having been reduced from 150 to 103.
- Based on £5,000 per year per installed MW: 370.8 x 5,000 = £1.854m a year.