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Energy / Yell wind farm team keen to address concerns

The area in the north of Yell earmarked for the Energy Isles development. Image taken from the Energy Isles environmental impact assessment report.

THE TEAM behind plans for a 29-turbine wind farm in Yell says it will be “working hard” over the coming months to address concerns raised by a range of organisations about the impact of the proposed development.

Energy Isles director Derek Jamieson said “every wind farm project faces challenges”, adding that the consortium behind the project will try to ensure that the wind farm will be “both efficient and environmentally acceptable for its location”.

It comes after a number of organisations, including Shetland Amenity Trust, Scottish Natural Heritage and Yell Community Council, submitted objections to the current plans.

Many of the concerns centred on the environmental impact of the wind farm, in areas like the blanket bog on site and birds.

Yell Community Council said it objected to the current plans for the wind farm, which would be located west of Cullivoe, on the grounds of noise level and environmental and visual impact, as well as the height and number of turbines.

The overall capacity of the proposed development is in the region of 145MW to 200 MW.

As the proposed wind farm is over 50MW in capacity, the decision on whether it gets the green light will come from the Scottish Government’s energy consents unit.

Jamieson said Energy Isles, which consists of over 50 mainly local shareholders, will be “hard at work over the next few months” to address the concerns raised by objectors.

“The concept of Energy Isles has always been about making sure that the considerable benefits of Shetland’s emerging renewable energy sector are maximised for the good of our local economy and community,” he said.

“And it would appear that a lot of local folk are in agreement with us – at our exhibitions in February, to which we directly invited residents from every listed household in the North Isles, attendees completed a feedback form which revealed that 80 per cent of respondents were supportive of our plans, nine per cent neutral and 11 per cent opposed.”

Jamieson said the Energy Isles shareholders, who are mainly businesses from a range of sectors, “still passionately believe” that the projected benefits are “worth the challenge”.

He said they include around £1 million per year in community benefit for the North Isles, 223 job years in Shetland during the construction and development of the wind farm and 180,000 tonnes of saved carbon emissions annually.