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Consultation underway on smaller wind farm

The proposed layout of the Mossy Hill wind farm.An Ordnance Survey map showing the layout of the Mossy Hill wind farm. Image: Shetland Islands Council planning department.

COMMUNITY councils are set to have their say in the coming weeks and months on scaled-down plans for a wind farm on the outskirts of Lerwick.

The number of proposed turbines in the Peel Energy development at Mossy Hill, which would have a maximum output of up to 50MW, was cut from 21 to 12 following concerns over scale.

Lerwick Community Council is due to discuss the matter at its next meeting on 3 September, while other community councils in central Shetland will also be given the opportunity to have their say.

Previous plans for 21 turbines were greeted somewhat apprehensively locally, with Scalloway Community Council for instance saying it would object to the proposal.

Current plans show that the 12 turbines would be located on land near to the north exit of Lerwick, and in the Mossy Hill area between the Brig o’ Fitch and the Black Gaet.

The turbines would have maximum tip heights of 145m.

It is estimated that between 40 and 80 full-time equivalent jobs would be created during construction, operation and decommission.

It is thought that the development, which has a 25-year lifespan, could generate between 91 per cent and 111 per cent of Shetland’s annual power demand if its capacity factor was between 40.5 per cent and 49.5 per cent.

The project, like the planned 103-turbine Viking Energy wind farm, would need to be linked to a proposed interconnector cable joining Shetland to the Scottish mainland to allow it to export energy.

Nearly £250,000 a year would be directed into a community fund thanks to a fixed annual payment of £5,000 per megawatt of installed capacity.

A report from the Mossy Hill wind farm planning application said that it is “recognised that the proposed development will give rise to some significant visual amenity effects on some residential properties”.

“These effects are not however, unique to this particular project and the identification of significant effects does not make a proposal unacceptable in land use or planning policy terms,” it added.

Peel Energy received consent from the Scottish Government last year for a 17-turbine wind farm in Yell.

It was recently confirmed that island wind projects will be able to bid every two years for subsidy from 2019 onwards as part of the UK Government’s contracts for difference auction scheme.