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Energy / Isles set to wait bit longer for Viking power once wind farm goes live

An impression of how part of the Viking Energy windfarm could look.

VIKING Energy will only start supplying electricity to Shetland homes and business around four or five months after the wind farm goes live.

SSEN Transmission project manager Steven McMillan told a meeting of Lerwick Community Council on Monday evening that local properties will be powered from the 103-turbine wind farm once a new grid supply point at Gremista is activated at the end of November 2024.

He said the Viking Energy farm is due to go live in July 2024, and until the Gremista point is live power from the turbines will head south through the interconnector cable. The Lerwick Power Station will continue operating up to November 2024.

McMillan gave members of the community council an update on SSE’s Shetland Renewables Connections project, which aims to install the necessary infrastructure to allow three other wind farms in Shetland to operate.

This will involve linking the consented Mossy Hill and Beaw Field farms, and the proposed Energy Isles development in Yell, to the network.

This will involve a mix of overhead lines and underground cables.

The overhead 132kV lines SSE is proposing could be 12 to 17 metres high, which is larger than the existing poles which are between nine to 12 metres, and they are greater in capacity.

But the meeting heard that underground cables could be at least five times more expensive, with the cost stretching to £1.5 million per kilometre.

McMillan reiterated that Lerwick Power Station will go into standby mode once the Gremista supply point goes live.

The location of the 132kV grid supply point is still to be determined, but it will be near to the existing 33kV substation at Lerwick Power Station.

The Gremista infrastructure will link to the converter station at Kergord, which will act as a hub all wind farms will be connected to.

The meeting heard that a number of routes for overhead lines and underground cabling were considered.

A number of environmental and visual impacts are being taken into account, members were told.

In Yell a switching station is proposed, as is a subsea cable from the island to Firth Ness, south of Mossbank.

Overhead lines are proposed between Kergord and Firth Ness, although some sections are likely be underground cable, while lines are also planned between Kergord and Gremista.

Again some underground cabling may be needed, including on approach to Kergord and close to the connection point in Lerwick.

Planning applications for the work are due to be submitted in 2022.

Giving an update on the plans for a supply point at Gremista, a SSEN Transmission spokesperson said: “A new Grid Supply Point (GSP) Substation to connect the new 132 kilovolt (kV) transmission network to the existing 33kV distribution network is currently being developed near Gremista and is scheduled to be connected by SSEN Transmission in November 2024.

“SSEN Transmission is working closely with SSEN Distribution to identify suitable land for the GSP close to Lerwick Power Station and are in early-stage discussions with landowners and Shetland Islands Council.

“We look forward to working closely with stakeholders to develop this essential project, which once complete will be a key component of Shetland’s whole island energy solution, of which the commissioning and energisation of the Shetland HVDC link, scheduled for July 2024, will be the first step.

“Connecting Shetland to the UK grid for the very first time, unlocking the islands’ vast renewable potential.”