THE SCOTTISH Council for Development and Industry has put its weight behind plans for a huge wind farm on Shetland.
The leading economic development body has written to the Scottish government’s energy consents unit calling for the 457 megawatt Viking Energy wind farm to be approved.
Responses to the addendum published by Viking Energy in September, which claimed the 127 wind turbines could cancel out their carbon footprint in less than a year, had to be submitted by last Friday.
The energy consents unit is currently logging the responses they have received. More than 2,000 people commented on the initial application, with around 75 per cent opposed to the development.
This week the SCDI said approving the Viking wind farm was “vital” if Shetland was to make the most of the new green energy economy, pointing out that the islands would export all but 50MW of electricity generated.
The wind farm would bring £2 million to local businesses each year while pumping £23 million into Shetland Charitable Trust every year, bringing the organisation a total of £930 million.
SCDI highlands and islands manager David Richardson said there was “a new recognition of the need to support investment in wind energy generation which chooses to locate in the areas of the UK with the most favourable weather resources”.
He said: “Shetland is a prime location for an onshore wind farm, with a number of the most productive turbines anywhere in the world, and a very short carbon payback on projects.
“The long term income generated by the Viking wind farm would also be reinvested to create economic, environmental, social and cultural benefits for Shetland, representing a unique opportunity to diversify the economy and address its long term economic and demographic challenges.
Mr Richardson claimed that the interconnector cable exporting electricity to the Scottish mainland would form the basis of a new industry in Shetland as new opportunities in offshore wind, wave and tidal power emerged.
“The Viking Wind Farm will make a considerable contribution to Scotland’s renewable electricity and climate change targets, and significantly enhance Shetland’s economic and environmental prospects and reputation. SCDI, therefore, recommends that it is consented,” he said
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