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Letters / Future and prosperity at stake

The local elections are imminent and whilst attention is mostly focused on ‘local’ issues (fixed links!), the electorate and candidates should consider the broader context because it affects Shetland’s future for a century or more.

The fishing industry will be affected by the intrusion of wind farms such as the Cerulean “floaters” proposal off the west coast purportedly to deliver power to the Laggan/Cambo complexes and a suggestion that power might be fed to Orion in Shetland via Vementry/Muckle Roe.

An order has been placed abroad by that company for 200 floating turbines for UK deployment including Shetland, a surprise as no such area has yet been “granted” by ScotWind. The finance behind it all is opaque.

Ithaca’s recent purchase of Siccar’s interests including Rosebank and Cambo may shed light on these developments, with FPSOs the option for oil, but gas being delivered to Shetland Gas Plant.

Equinor (Statoil) the operator of Rosebank has a novel approach injecting CO2 into a Norwegian field and cooperates with Aker regarding wind farms who in turn proposed the large floaters off Unst (fishing restrictions?).

One map depicts a gas pipeline from Rosebank, bypassing Shetland to the west/south to join the SIRGE line southeast of Shetland from Sullom to St Fergus. Presently SGP and Shetland would get no benefit from that. Could Equinor be persuaded otherwise?

Hydrogen/ammonia production is mooted at Sullom. This would be a departure from the present use of the SGP/SVT plants which are processing plants, and not production units.

These new activities would be manufacturing complexes and will be subject to such additional fees/rates and throughput structures that the SIC can negotiate, and add to Shetland’s coffers.

Wind farms areas are presently being “granted” by Edinburgh (I have argued that this should not be the case) whereas oil/gas are ‘issued’ by London. That is a ludicrous situation, because elsewhere a joint hybrid “oil-gas/wind turbine structure” will proceed which confirms that all the “permits/licences” should lie entirely within one regulatory authority – the UK, as these hybrids might become common around Shetland.

The local MP and MSP should ensure that they are immediately brought under the one authority of the UK and comply with the ZCC 1974 Act.

All of the above and more if handled correctly should be of great benefit to Shetland. Therefore, the new councillors should make themselves thoroughly acquainted with what is happening in their own backyards and seas right now and not become reliant on what crumbs might be available (ie after the fact) from local or national officials.

Could I suggest they develop an open information database including data readily available from YouTube/others and keep up to date with developments and proposals.

The pupils in the high schools could assist their elders with collation and input to the project, as it is their future and prosperity that is at stake.

Cecil Robertson
Inverness

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