SHETLAND wind farm developer Viking Energy expects to feed green power into the national grid by November 2018.
Construction of the controversial 103 turbine wind farm is now likely to commence in early 2016 and to last for three years.
The further delay of the project is due to the slow progress and the high cost of upgrading power lines in the north of Scotland.
Revised figures show that the £700 million project is now calculated to earn the Shetland Charitable Trust around £20 million per annum, less than initially anticipated.
Speaking publicly for the first time since his appointment in December, the company’s new chairman Alan Bryce said it was “business as usual” at the Viking Energy HQ at Lerwick’s Gutters Hut.
Viking Energy Partnership, a 50-50 joint venture between Scottish & Southern Energy and the local community through the charitable trust, were granted planning consent for the up to 457 megawatt large wind farm by Scottish Ministers in April last year.
The government’s consent decision is currently being challenged in the Court of Session where opponents Sustainable Shetland have lodged a judicial review.
Bryce said income projections had to be reduced after Scottish Ministers had deleted 24 turbines from the original planning application.
However, the former managing director of Scottish Power’s energy networks, said that in addition to the trust’s income the company estimated another £6 million a year to be paid to crofters and landowners.
A further £5 million per annum would be paid out for services and in wages to a permanent workforce of around 30 people.
Bryce heads a small board of directors made up of Elsbeth Johnson, who has a high level background in banking and government in the UK and by Joseph Philpsz, who comes from the Edinburgh-based investment bank Noble Group.
Project manager Aaron Priest said: “The new board’s responsibility will be to ensure that the project continues to move steadily forward from its current consented status, through a Final Investment Decision (FID) and, thereafter, into construction and operation.”
Viking now expects Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission’s 600MW interconnector cable from Shetland will make landfall in Caithness in preference to previous proposals which would have seen a longer subsea route to either an offshore hub at the Beatrice oilfield or straight to Banffshire.
Bryce said connecting Shetland to the national grid would not only harness a “world-class” resource but also “lay the foundations” for future renewable industries.