Ocean Kinetics - The Engineering Experts

Letters / Death warrant for isles tourism

Energy Isles, presumably a proxy company for Viking Energy, are submitting a proposal for 50 turbines, each with a height 200 metres (656 feet) for their windfarm across North Yell.

To give an idea of scale; only about 20 Shetland hilltops are 200 metres above sea level, the Noup of Noss is 181 metres. To add to their total dominance of the landscape windfarms are all built on high ground. If planning is granted, then along with the already granted 17 turbine (145 metres tall) Beaw Field windfarm, 15 per cent of the land area of Yell will be windfarms’ footprint with 100 per cent visual impact on the whole island.

Shetland’s tourism industry should be alarmed and extremely worried at the prospect of industrial windfarm proliferation across Shetland. As things stand at the moment, planning permission has been granted for the 103 turbine (145 metres tall) Viking Energy windfarm with a footprint of 129 square kilometres (50 sq miles); i.e. 13.3 per cent of the land area of Mainland. The visual impact of the VE windfarm will be on at least 70 per cent of the Mainland landscape, and will be 100 per cent if they too go for 200 metre tall turbines. The planned Scalloway to Quarff, 21 turbine (145 metres tall), windfarm footprint is 1 per cent of Mainland. Taken together the proposed 680 MW, 170 square kilometre, windfarms’ footprint will cover 12 per cent of the total land area of Shetland with 100 per cent visual impact across the islands.

None of this can be built unless the 600 MW interconnector cable is laid to Scotland and its vast converter station is built in Upper Kergord (with 100 per cent visual impact on this historic and scenic valley). The interconnector won’t happen unless there is at least 600 MW of windfarm generating capacity built across Shetland. This is why the parasite and proxy companies to Viking Energy are applying to proliferate industrial windfarms across vast tracts of the Shetland landscape.

In reality, for the interconnector cable to be economic it needs to be exporting power as near as possible to full capacity 24/7 all year round, thus will require about 900 MW of generating capacity in Shetland. This is because, when the planned windfarms are up and running, up to 30 per cent of the generating capacity will be down again for maintenance, repairs etc. When the planned windfarms are built, planning permission to extend windfarms will soon be applied for to increase generation capacity, then it is likely that as much as 25 per cent of the land area of Shetland will be windfarm footprint.

The visual impact of windfarms is not just from the hundreds of towering industrial turbines that will completely dominate our landscape. It also comes from hundreds of kilometres of access roads, dozens of vast quarries, pylons, power lines, ancillary buildings, inevitable peat-slides, etc that will horribly scar the landscape. Shetland’s unique landscape, as promoted by the tourism industry and admired by millions on TV nature documentaries and programmes like ‘Shetland’ and ‘Island Medics,’ will be permanently destroyed, both visually and physically.

Shetland Islands Council and the Scottish Government fully support the interconnector cable and Viking Energy windfarm. This unqualified support means that they now have no option other than to ‘rubber stamp’ planning consent for all present and future windfarm applications. To them Shetland’s landscape has absolutely no value other than for widespread industrialisation. By supporting the interconnector cable these ‘landscape deniers’, i.e. past and present leaders, officers and members of the SIC, MP Alistair Carmichael, our various MSPs and the Scottish Government, have signed the death warrant of Shetland’s tourism industry.

I care about Shetland’s scenery, flora and fauna and I instigated the development of UNESCO Global Geopark Shetland so this could be shared with the world. I used to see a future in a growing and sustainable tourism industry for Shetland based on the diverse and unique beauty of our landscape. There is nothing clean or green about giant industrial windfarms being built across our islands.

Shetland’s landscape deniers continue to support and encourage the landscape destroyers from the bank of Viking Energy (aka Shetland Charitable Trust), SSE and the other wind subsidy farmers. It is they that have put an end to any tourism future for Shetland.

Allen Fraser