Energy / Weather the biggest risk but all 103 turbines will be up by the end of the year, Vestas insists

Turbine blades arriving on board the BBC Belem. Photo: Jessica Laurenson (Peterson UK)

WIND turbine manufacturer Vestas has again expressed its confidence that all 103 Viking Energy turbines will be in place by the end of the year.

Components for the turbines have been arriving at Lerwick Harbour since the end of last year, and this week saw the publication of a detailed plan of how these will be transported to the construction site in the Central Mainland of Shetland.

The first convoy with turbine parts is set to leave Lerwick’s Greenhead Base at around 6am on Monday 6 February.

Construction of turbines is set to get underway towards the end of March when the first two tower components of several turbines, measuring a combined 38 metres in height, will become visible in the northwest corner of the large site.

Once completed the 103 turbines will each have a height of 155 metres from the ground to the top of the blade.

Photo: Craig Leask (Peterson UK)

Speaking to Shetland News earlier this week, Vestas’ lead project manager Robert Yeates said that after a “reasonably slow start” the company will accelerate construction to have four main cranes plus associated construction teams with 20 people each working on the programme.

“The wind, and the weather in general, is one of the biggest risks for the project,” he said.

“If we are struggling with the weather then we need to look at other contingencies and possibly bring in another crane or moving towards a night shift to better optimise the weather windows.

“We have done quite a few calculations on what the weather risk may look like, and at the moment we are confident that it will be completed by the end of the year.”

Yeates also responded to local observers who quickly noted that the offloading of the 57-metre-long blades from the freighter BBC Belem had to be suspended due to high winds.

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He said the company and its sub-contractors were well aware of the local conditions and were confident they could work around it.

Responding to suggestions that turbine parts should be taken to the construction site during night-time hours to minimise traffic disruption he said they had to ensure that the majority of the driving would happen during daylight hours “not just on the route to the site but also driving on the site” itself.

Most of the transportation will unlikely be affected by the weather as most of the convoys will be able to offload on site, he added.

“They will not be affected by weather, but blades will need to be offloaded with cranes, so if the wind doesn’t allow that then we can’t deliver on that day,” he said.

“We have taken into account some weather disruptions – offloading of the majority of the components such as the tower, the hub and the nacelles will not be affected by the wind.


“As we are heading towards the end of the programme, we will have the opportunity to bring in more trucks to try and stick to the programme if we have had delays due to the weather.”

Meanwhile SSE Renewables’ Aaron Priest confirmed that four of the 16 different laydown areas on the site are “well-advanced for first delivery”.

Tower components will be set down next to the existing turbine foundations from where two smaller cranes will start the construction in about two months’ time.

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