VIKING Energy will be applying to the Scottish Government to increase the size of the 103 wind turbines it plans to build in central Shetland.
Viking says it intends to apply for a 10m increase in tip height variation to its planning permission to a maximum height of 155m. The rotor diameter will also increase by 10m to a maximum of 120m.
The rotors will be moved 5m further up the turbine masts, maintaining a 35m ground clearance below the turbine blades.
No changes to the area of the Viking Energy Wind Farm (VEWF) are proposed. Members of Shetland Islands Council were notified of the changes by letter.
According to Viking, use of powerful turbines of 4 MegaWatts (MW) or more would enable the windfarm to increase its generation of renewable electricity to a level closer to its consented capacity of 457MW, increasing the potential income to Shetland Charitable Trust, which owns 45 per cent of the project.
The letter to councillors says: “Turbine technology has moved on since Viking wind farm received consent in 2012. In the last decade, the annual electricity production per turbine has almost doubled. The planning variation is to enable Viking to take advantage of the best onshore wind turbines available and maximise the output of the site.
“The proposed change has been discussed with the Energy Consents Unit, Scottish Government, Shetland Islands Council, Scottish Natural Heritage and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. Further statutory consultation will take place following submission of the application next month.”
The partnership between the Shetland community, represented by Viking Energy Shetland, and power company SSE, says it is “keen to share details with the local community and receive feedback.”
Viking Energy aims to bid into the 2019 round of the UK Government’s Contracts for Difference auction which seeks to reduce carbon emissions and tackle climate change by providing power contracts at lowest cost for renewable energy generation.
Viking Energy Project Director Ian Innes said: “It’s unfortunate that the wind farm has been held up for a number of years. Turbine technology has advanced considerably since the project was consented so, naturally, the project wishes to buy and install the best turbines on the market to maximise its output of clean electricity.
“Viking is now competing against a new generation of wind farms, including those offshore, where tip heights of 200m or more are now available.”
Viking Energy applied in 2010 to build 127 turbines but 24 were removed by the Scottish Ministers when approving the project. The wind farm developer stated at the time it would consider using more advanced turbines to make up the short fall in electricity generation if they became available on the market.
Viking Energy plans to begin construction in 2020 with a view to completing the wind farm and connecting it to the proposed 600MW interconnector to the national grid in 2024.
Viking will be holding a drop-in exhibition in the Voe Public Hall on Tuesday 2 October from 12pm to 8pm to “share our plans and allow the community and interested parties to discuss the proposed change with the project team.”
Exhibition materials will also be available to view on the Viking wind farm website www.vikingenergy.co.uk from Wednesday 3 October.