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Council / Third petition questions energy security

SHETLAND Islands Council (SIC) has received a third petition from islanders concerned with the decision making process that led to the approval of the Viking Energy wind farm and associated infrastructure.

Petitioners are particularly concerned that a proposal to replace Lerwick power station with a liquid natural gas (LNG) power station to secure long-term energy security for the isles has – as they see it – not been considered fully.

Lerwick power station is due to close in 2025. Photo: Shetland News

Twenty three signatories, led by Colin Fraser from Whiteness, are now urging the SIC to give this option “full and informed discussion by the council at its earliest convenience”.

The petition reads: “By law, the frequency of power across the whole of the national grid has to be kept at 50Mhz. [The UK grid frequency is 50Hz, not 50Mhz – Shetland News] Wind farm power is either on or off, with no control over frequency, hence the need for retaining conventional power stations.

“Presently the Lerwick power station relies on the help of Sullom Voe Terminal (SVT) power station to maintain the correct frequency and cope with the intermittent supply from existing wind farms.

“The present system already struggles at times with the few wind turbines currently connected and there are grave concerns that by adding more into the grid will jeopardise energy security in the island and breach legal limits.”

They add: “The proposed LNG plant, being a far more environmentally friendly option than the heavy diesel engines currently used by the Lerwick station, would be a big step towards the local council and Scottish Government carbon reduction figures.

“A new built station would also ensure local long-term energy security”.

A proposal for a gas-fired power station in Lerwick was discounted by energy regulator Ofgem when it approved the 600MW subsea interconnector cable.

It is the third petition on energy the local authority has received over the last week with the first challenging the extent of delegated authority for council officials while the second suggests that the wind farm construction contradicts the SIC’s own stance on climate change.

All petitions are likely to be heard at the SIC’s next full meeting on 9 September.