Huge Scotland Wind Farm Given Green Light (on Shetland Islands)
The Scottish government has finally approved a major wind farm project on Shetland Islands, adding 370 MW to Scotland’s renewable capacity, enough energy to power 175,000 homes — or as much as sixteen times the population of the small island group where it is to be built.
Over 10% of Shetland’s Population Objected to the Development of the Wind Farm
The project, which has been named Viking Energy wind farm, has met a lot of resistance from bitter local residents, who have been complaining about the aesthetic impact a project of this dimension has on the local scenery. These residents think that the wind farm should only hold enough capacity for the islanders themselves.
Protection of birds is another key argument in the fight against approval. Although wind turbines are not as hazardous towards birds as many people think, parts of Shetland are nesting grounds for rare birds such as whimbrel and red-throated divers.
The first draft of the project originally consisted of as much as 200 turbines, but this number has been reduced to 103, to ensure safety for the nearby Scatsta airport and the bird life.
Potential to Become the Most Productive Wind Farm in the World
Shetland has one of the “windiest” and most consistent wind resources in the entire world, and it is already a wind power leader in some respects — for example, it already holds the world record for the most efficient wind turbine, which generates electricity at 59% its potential power output.
Chairman of Viking Energy Partnership, Councilor Bill Manson said the following in a press release about the recent approval:
“This is good news for Shetland, good news for Scotland and good news for the fight against climate change.”
The development of Viking Energy wind farm will ensure many green jobs, bring in £30 million in earnings every year, and contribute to Scotland becoming a major exporter of renewable energy.
This wind farm comes with at an estimated price tag of £566 million and is planned to be operational sometime within 2017. More than one third of Scotland’s energy consumption is already coming from renewables. With the addition of Viking Energy wind farm, this number will increase significantly, and will help Scotland in its goal to get 100% of its electricity from renewable energy by 2020.