Viking Wind Farm

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Viking Wind Farm
Viking Wind Farm is located in Scotland
Viking Wind Farm
Location of Viking Wind Farm in Scotland
Country Scotland, United Kingdom
Location Shetland Islands
Coordinates 60°18′24″N 1°13′15″W / 60.30661°N 1.22077°W / 60.30661; -1.22077Coordinates: 60°18′24″N 1°13′15″W / 60.30661°N 1.22077°W / 60.30661; -1.22077
Status consented, awaiting consent for the Shetland HVDC Connection
Construction cost £566 million (estimated, 103 turbines)
Owner(s) Shetland Islands Council
Wind farm
Type Onshore
Hub height 90 m (300 ft)
Power generation
Units planned 103 3.6MW
Nameplate capacity 370MW

Viking Wind Farm is a proposed wind farm being developed by Viking Energy,[n 1] a partnership between Shetland Islands Council and SSE plc.

Initially proposed as a 150 turbine 600 MW project in 2009, the scheme had significant opposition, on grounds including effects on wildlife, and the general environment; part of the wind farm was also removed because of a potential interference with equipment at Scatsta Airport.

A 370MW wind farm received planning permission in 2012, but an objection by Sustainable Shetland was successful in Sep 2013 on the grounds of inadequate assessment of impact on the Whimbrel bird, and on licensing regulations relating to the 1989 Electricity Act. This decision was subsequently overturned by two higher courts in 2014 and 2015.


In 2005 SSE and Shetland Islands Council (via development company Viking Energy.[n 1]) signed a memorandum of understanding to combined independent proposals for 300 MW wind farms on mainland Shetland and jointly develop a large scale (600 MW) wind farm. The companies formalised the agreement in January 2007.[2]

In 2009 the developers[n 2] submitted a planning application for 150 turbines (estimated 600 MW capacity) on the main island of Shetland.[3]

In 2010 the plan was reduced in scope, with the number of turbines reduced to 127;[4] the turbines were to be 3.6 MW machines with hub height of 90 metres (300 ft) and blade tip height of 145 metres (476 ft). The scope area of the wind farm was 129 km2 (50 sq mi), of which only 104 ha (1.04 km2) would be permanently built upon, additionally the plan required construction of approximately 104 km of access roads, and the quarrying of 1,470,000 m3 (0.00147 km3) of rock, and the disturbance of between 650 and 900,000 cubic metres of peat.[5] The development was dependent on the Shetland HVDC Connection being built connecting Shetland to the UK mainland's national grid.[4] The cost of the connector was estimated at £300 million in late 2011; Viking Energy would be liable for 10% or less of the cost,[6] other energy producing projects in Shetland, such as Aegir wave farm, were also dependent on the grid connector being built.[7][8]

The scheme proved contentious with both significant opposition and support, receiving 2,772 formal objections and 1,115 in support, as well as objections from RSPB Scotland; in part due to concerns on its impact on the rare Whimbrel.[9][10]

The converter station at Kergord for the HVDC link to the Scottish mainland reached an initial stage of planning consent in early 2011, after several previous attempts starting 2009.[11] In April 2012 the Scottish Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism ), Fergus Ewing, granted planning permission for a 103 wind turbine development, withholding consent on 24 turbines in Delting Parish due to potential interference with equipment at Scatsta Airport, and limiting maximum height to 145 m (476 ft).[5] The reduced development had an estimated capacity of up to 370 MW. The income from the development to shareholder Shetland Islands Trust was estimated at £20 million pa and the capital cost of the development was estimated at £556 million.[9]

In September 2013 a ruling on an objection from Sustainable Shetland to the development held that the consent given under section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989 was incompetent because Viking Energy did not hold a license under the 1989 Act, and that the Scottish Ministers had failed to have proper regard to their obligations under the Birds Directive [2009/147/EC] to the protected Whimbrel species.[12][13]

In October 2013 the Scottish Government signalled its intention to appeal the decision.[14] In July 2014 appeal judges at Edinburgh's Court of Session announced that there was insufficient reason to stop the wind farm and gave the project the go-ahead.[15] Sustainable Shetland appealed the decision at the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom but lost the appeal in February 2015.[16] They were also refused leave to appeal to the European Court of Justice.[16]


If constructed turbines would be erected in Kergord, North Nesting, and South Nesting.[9][17][18] Original proposals included 24 turbines in the Delting area (refused 2012 consent.[9]) and 23 turbines in the Collafirth area (removed from application.[18]).

Estimated construction time for the 127 turbine farm was 5 years.[19] The wind farm is expected to have a high utilisation rate, smaller wind turbines on the island having attained high capacity factors of over 50%.[3][20]


  1. ^ a b Shetland Council formed "Viking Energy Ltd" (90% owned by Shetland Charitable Trust) as an energy development company, SSE formed SSE Viking as a subsidiary. The 50:50 joint venture of the two companies is termed "Viking Energy Partnership".[1]
  2. ^ A joint venture between SSE and the Shetland Islands Trust. The trust was an organisation initially created to distribute income from oil installations on the island..[3]


  1. ^ Who Are We?, Viking Energy, retrieved 8 April 2012, Viking Energy is a 50:50 partnership between Viking Energy Ltd and SSE Viking Ltd. SSE Viking Ltd is a subsidiary of Scottish and Southern Energy plc. Viking Energy Ltd [...] is 90% owned by the Shetland Charitable Trust ... The remaining 10% is held by the people who developed Burradale Wind Farm 
  2. ^ Sources:
  3. ^ a b c Severin Carrell (20 May 2009), "Shetland stirred by giant Viking wind farm plan", The Guardian 
  4. ^ a b "Viking Energy Shetland wind farm plan scaled back", BBC News, 29 September 2010 
  5. ^ a b Consultations on section 36 application etc on the Viking Wind Farm (PDF), Infrastructure Services Department, Shetland Islands Council, 14 December 2010 [dead link]
  6. ^ Hans Marter (16 November 2011), "Viking interconnector by April 2016", Shetland News 
  7. ^ "Vattenfall to test Pelamis sea snake in Orkney", BusinessGreen, 15 March 2012 
  8. ^ "UK: Aegir Wave Farm to Benefit from Viking Wind Farm", Subsea World News, 5 Apr 2012 
  9. ^ a b c d Sources:
  10. ^ Severin Carrell (28 July 2009), "Latest protest leaves climate strategy twisting in the wind", The Guardian 
  11. ^ John Robertson (2 February 2011), "Controversial windfarm converter station approved without vote by council", The Shetland Times 
  12. ^ "OPINION OF LADY CLARK OF CALTON in Petition of SUSTAINABLE SHETLAND",, Court of Session - High Court of Justiciary, 24 Sep 2013, archived from the original on 2013-10-16 
  13. ^ "Judge rules against Viking wind farm",, 24 September 2013 
  14. ^ Scottish government ministers challenge Shetland wind farm ruling, BBC News, 3 October 2013 
  15. ^ Viking Energy wind farm plan for Shetland backed by appeal judges, BBC News, 9 July 2014 
  16. ^ a b Shetland's Viking windfarm cleared by supreme court, The Guardian, 9 February 2015 
  17. ^ BMT Cordah Ltd, "Non-technical summary", Why the proposed wind farm design was changed, pp.1-2; Fig. NTS A1 (end)
  18. ^ a b BMT Cordah Ltd, "Non-technical summary", "Turbines", p.3
  19. ^ BMT Cordah Ltd, "Non-technical summary", Construction programme, p.6
  20. ^ Information BankMyth Buster, Viking Energy, 4. Wind farms have a very low productivity level, retrieved 8 April 2012 


  • BMT Cordah Ltd, "Non-technical summary" (PDF), VIKING WIND FARM ENVIRONMENTAL STATEMENT ADDENDUM, Viking Energy Partnership, retrieved 8 April 2012 

External links[edit]