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Letters / We could have had a Shetland tariff by now

We were gratified to see the chairman of Shetland Charitable Trust clarifying the circumstances surrounding the trust’s decision not to invest further in the Viking Energy project.

Charitable trust’s envisaged earnings from Viking wind farm described as ‘significant’ and ‘comfortable’

This sentence is particularly revealing:

“Dr Cooper said that in any case the sums of money required to invest in the project as an equal partner of SSE would likely have been inappropriate for an organisation such as Shetland Charitable Trust.”

This is what we have said all along but of course we were ignored.

It is, of course, completely false that Sustainable Shetland’s action was the cause of the charitable trust’s decision, as is regularly mentioned on social media. Sound financial advice was the real reason.

SSE were almost certainly anticipating that this would be the outcome and no doubt this possibility was included in the top-secret Busta House agreement. As a large multinational company, SSE are undoubtedly adept at taking advantage of situations like this, where the local council and most landowners have welcomed them with open arms.

Sustainable Shetland always warned of the environmental and financial dangers of the project and suggested that Shetland should consider a ‘fit-for-scale and fit-for purpose’ energy mix for Shetland.

This could have been a mix of windfarm and tidal power large enough to power Shetland only, backed up with a gas fired power station and no cable to mainland UK. If this option had gone ahead, then by now there could be a much lower ‘Shetland tariff’ from our own power sources and much less fuel poverty in Shetland.

As far as the approximately £10 million already invested by the charitable trust goes, left invested in the stock market, its value would have increased substantially by now and one would hope that any return from Viking Energy might match that. However, that is doubtful, many challenges lie ahead for this ill-starred project.

Frank Hay
Chairman
Sustainable Shetland

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