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Energy / Wind farm developer ‘optimistic’ after transmission link approval

Peel Energy has begun the process of discharging planning conditions for its proposed wind farm in Yell

An illustrative view of the planned Beaw Field wind farm from the Old Has in Burravoe, Yell. Image: Peel L&P

THE Manchester based developer behind plans for two wind farms in Shetland say they are “optimistic” following energy regulator Ofgem’s conditional approval of an interconnector which would allow energy to be exported to the mainland.

Peel Energy has now started applying to discharge conditions associated with planning permission for its proposed Beaw Field wind farm in Yell, which could feature up to 17 turbines.

It is nearly two years since the last planning-related activity for the wind farm, which has been approved by the Scottish Government, and the developer said it marks the beginning of the next “key step” in bringing it to fruition.

Ofgem confirmed in April that it was minded to approve a 600MW subsea transmission link between Shetland and Caithness – if there was sufficient evidence that the Viking Energy wind farm will go ahead.

The link would pave the way for other wind farms in Shetland to go ahead, while also allow energy to be sent north to the isles once Lerwick Power Station is closed in 2025.

In addition to Beaw Field Peel Energy also has consent for the 12-turbine Mossy Hill farm outside of Lerwick.

Peel L&P Energy development director Rob Tate said: “The Shetland Islands has huge potential for green energy and we remain committed to our Beaw Field and Mossy Hill wind farm projects on the island and are optimistic about recent announcements for the new undersea cable to support Scotland’s net-zero goal.

“As part of the usual planning process, we’re now working through a number of planning conditions for our Beaw Field and Mossy Hill developments as the next key steps in making the projects a reality.”

Work on an access track which would provide a route to the proposed electricity converter station at Upper Kergord, which forms part of the interconnector jigsaw, remains on hold.

In March it was confirmed that construction work on the track would be postponed as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

Ofgem sought revised proposals for SSE’s transmission link after Viking Energy – as well as Peel – failed to secure government subsidy last year.

The next allocation round of the UK government’s contracts for difference scheme is set for 2021.

In addition to the Peel Energy and Viking Energy wind farms, Energy Isles is also proposing to build 23 turbines in Yell. However, it does not yet have consent.