SHETLAND wind farm developer Viking Energy has appointed a three member board to take the 103 turbine project to the construction stage.
The company has also announced it is to employ Shetland Times journalist John Robertson as its community liaison officer.
A former Scottish Power manager, Alan Bryce, is to become chairman of Viking Energy LLP, the Shetland-owned half of the Viking Energy partnership.
He will be joined on the board by Shetland-born academic Elsbeth Johnson, who has a high level background in banking and government in the UK and Asia, and by Joseph Philpsz, who comes from the Edinburgh-based investment bank Noble Group.
The company said the new board members bring with them a range of expertise that will help negotiate the finance for one of Scotland’s largest infrastructure projects.
Bryce said: “This is an enormously exciting project and we are all pleased to be involved in taking it forward to construction.
“We have expertise in all the key areas and a real desire to see the project to its successful conclusion.
“We are all keenly aware that it has taken a lot of time and enormous effort to get the project to this stage and we hope to build on those solid foundations and deliver what promises to be the most productive on-shore wind farm in the world.”
Johnson commented: “I was born and brought up in Shetland so I know only too well what a fabulous wind resource we have here.
“While like many others I had to leave Shetland to work, Viking Energy is an opportunity for Shetland not only to harness its natural advantages but also to build a platform for future economic development and I’m delighted to be a part of making the most of that opportunity for Shetland.”
Joseph Philipsz added: “I have spent many years working on project finance for infrastructure developments and relish the chance to work on such an exciting project.
“The community ownership aspect of Viking Energy is unique in a project of this scale and we recognise the huge responsibility we have in safeguarding this investment on behalf of the community.”
Viking Energy Shetland LLP replaces the previous company Viking Energy Ltd, which set up the joint venture with Scottish and Southern Energy plc. Existing directors Bill Manson, Alastair Cooper and Caroline Miller have all stepped down.
Bryce said the former directors had played a pivotal role in steering the project through a difficult period.
“I’d like to thank them for their hard work and dedication over the years and would like to assure them that they are giving over responsibility to people who are similarly dedicated to seeing the project delivered for the long term benefit and prosperity of the people of Shetland.”
John Robertson has 25 years experience reporting on Shetland, as well as serving as a freelance reporter and photographer in Ireland and working in the Scottish Parliament.
His new job will see him liaising with a wide range of people, including crofters, communities and the media.
Project manager Aaron Priest said: “John will be a vital member of the team going forward.
“It’s important that we establish effective ways of communicating with a wide range people and the many organisations that have an interest in the Viking wind farm.
“John knows Shetland and understands the issues.”