A NEW planning application for a two kilometre access track from the B9075 road to Upper Kergord has been submitted by Viking Energy.
The application forms part of Viking's strategy to have all necessary planning consents in place prior to the expected announcement in autumn next year on whether the project will receive government subsidy under the Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme.
The Kergord track, along with a new junction and temporary construction compound, will give access to the planned transmission substation at Upper Kergord.
The substation forms part of plans to build an interconnector cable from mainland Scotland to Shetland, to enable the export of renewable energy from large-scale projects.
A decision whether or not the 267-kilometre long 600MW interconnector will be built depends on the renewables industry being successful in making a 'needs case' for Shetland.
The new planning application for the 2.09km Kergord track looks to address some of the statutory responses it received from a previous application submitted in 2016.
Campaign group Sustainable Shetland said in response to the original application that the track, "combined with alterations to the B9075, the convertor station and the Viking windfarm itself represent a massive industrialisation of the Upper Kergord area".
A separate planning application for an upgrade of the B9075 Sandwater Road from the Halfway House to the proposed Kergord track is due to be submitted to enable access for the work.
The proposed track would be "constructed to a total width of 8m (6m wide plus two 1m verges) by laying and compacting crushed stone to the required level", the application says.
The access track is needed before the substation can be built.
A timeline on Viking Energy's website said major wind farm construction works could begin in 2019, with the wind farm potentially connecting to the National Grid in 2023/24.