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Proposal to build large wind farm in north Yell

| Written by Chris Cope

A map indicating where the turbines could be located. A map indicating where the turbines could be located. PLANS have been lodged for a new wind farm in Yell featuring up to 63 turbines.

Local consortium Energy Isles Ltd is behind the proposals, which would be located at the north west tip of the island and have a combined capacity of 200MW.

Chairman Paul Riddell said that the group is pressing ahead with its plans following a recent commitment from the UK government to allow island wind projects to bid in future contracts for difference (CfD) auctions.

It is another project mooted for Shetland – along with the likes of the larger Viking Energy wind farm – which would require a large scale subsea interconnector cable linked to the UK mainland to export energy.

Hopes for a 600MW interconnector were last week given a boost after plans to serve Shetland’s electricity needs through a 60MW subsea link were rejected by regular Ofgem following the government’s island commitment.

The Yell wind farm would be located on a 2,212 hectare site around 1.5km west of Cullivoe and 1.1km south of Gloup, with the turbines proposed to have a hub height of 90m to 100m.

The area currently consists of open moorland and scattered burns and lochs and it is mainly used for sheep farming.

It is the latest wind energy proposal for Yell, which is the subject of an application by Peel Energy for a 17-turbine farm at Beauw Field.

Last year North Yell Development Council launched five turbines at Garth, a scheme designed to feed income back into the community.

Energy Isles Ltd was formed in 2014 and it consists of over 30 largely local businesses and individuals, from Delta Marine, Ocean Kinetics and Shetland Aerogenerators to Harry’s Department Store, the Lounge Bar and Unst Shellfish.

It was created to form a plan for a wind farm in the North Isles of Shetland, hoping to use spare capacity left over from the Viking wind farm in a 600MW interconnector.

Riddell said the proposed renewable project could provide a massive boost to the local economy.

“Now that the UK Government has committed itself to admitting island projects into the next CfD round in 2019, and is indicating that further CfD rounds will follow, we will be proceeding with the rest of the work required,” he said.

“If approved, we believe this would be a highly productive wind farm on a very good site that would bring substantial economic and social benefits to the North Isles and to Shetland as a whole.”

The Yell wind farm proposals are at an early stage and only preliminary environmental assessments have been carried out.

A full environmental impact assessment would be carried out before any consent from the Scottish Government was potentially granted.

The development would also feature “infrastructure associated with the wind turbines including access tracks, crane hardstandings, underground cabling, in site control building, temporary construction compound(s), potential excavations or borrow pits, and permanent meteorological mast(s).”

A scoping report into the wind farm notes that public consultations would be held through meetings and exhibitions, while a dedicated website would be launched.

North Isles councillor Ryan Thomson said the impact could be "substantial to the Yell community if this project gets the green light".

He added: "The North Isles councillors will look to set up meetings in the coming weeks and months with delegates from Energy Isles Ltd and the Yell Community Council to discuss these plans and will follow the progress of the planning application with great interest."

The Yell project is the latest wind farm to be proposed for Shetland, with Peel Energy unveiling plans earlier this year for a 21-turbine development outside of Lerwick.

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