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SIC cash helps turbine and net cleaning firm

| Written by Shetland News

A MEDIUM sized wind turbine and an innovative fish farm net cleaning system have received a hefty cash injection from Shetland Islands Council.

Former councillor and Crofters Commission chairman Drew Ratter has won a £300,000 loan for the company he runs with his wife and neighbour Vivienne Ratter and lawyer Chris Dowle to erect a 250 kilowatt turbine in Ollaberry.

The £600,000 project by Hillhead Windpower Ltd has full planning permission and one of the few agreements with Scottish & Southern Energy to connect to the islands’ limited electricity network.

Mr Ratter started the project in 2007 and said that he would hope to have the turbine up and running by the end of 2012.

Meanwhile a new company based on Whalsay hopes to employ six people cleaning salmon nets using a new Norwegian system, which allows the nets to be cleaned at sea.

Aurora Marine Ltd is owned by Neil Garrick, Colin Leask, Lynsey Garrick and Valerie Leask.

The council’s development committee has approved a loan of £372,500 on top of a grant of £37,250 to help pay for a workboat and the necessary equipment.

Councillors were told that between them the two businesses could generate a revenue of £500,000 a year.

Committee chairman Alastair Cooper said: “It is very heartening to see two true economic development projects before the committee. They show how important it is to make the most of the opportunities that are here already. Even in harder economic times good businesses can get going to help shape our future.”