Tuesday 21 May 2024
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Letters / Sacrificed on the green energy altar

SSE/Viking makes much of their ‘milestones’ claims but many local residents don’t see them as a cause for celebration. They see the turbines more as tombstones for the Shetland environment.

First turbines installed at Viking Energy wind farm site

It is now becoming all too obvious that our fears about the scale of this project on the landscape and the negative effects on the local environment are being realised.

Shetland, as we know it, is being dramatically altered and the Central Mainland is being effectively industrialised into a sea of churning turbine blades.

The ill-disguised bribery that is the community benefit fund is scant compensation for the damage being done to Shetland’s image as having a relatively unspoilt environment.

The fact remains that this project is coming to fruition mainly for financial reasons and that the impacts on local residents have been largely ignored.

Sad times for Shetland and, unfortunately, it will only get worse if Orion etc. progresses as our leaders would wish. Shetland is now seen as a soft touch for developers.

Clearly Viking Energy is now unstoppable but, given that the value of peatland environments as a carbon store is being more widely recognised, it is highly unlikely that such a project would be consented nowadays.

Unfortunately, this comes too late for the local residents forced to live with such a monstrosity in their midst. In spite of SSE’s best efforts, Viking Energy remains a divisive and controversial project whose green credentials are highly questionable.

It is somewhat galling that the closure of Lerwick Power Station, cited as one of the reasons for Viking to be approved, won’t now go ahead and it will have to remain on standby because of the weaknesses inherent in renewables and cabling.

Not only that, but a huge, and possibly risky Battery Park is likely to be constructed in Lerwick to facilitate changeovers. That is just another example of the many “add-ons” and amendments to the original consent.

Just how have we got to where we are today? For many people, this was an over-ambitious and very costly project never likely to progress.

Unfortunately, politicians, both national and local, didn’t see it that way and saw fit to wholeheartedly support it. We are now getting an energy solution for Shetland that is extremely expensive and probably will be much less reliable than the one we already have.

Value for money has never been a consideration. Shetland has been sacrificed on the green energy/net zero altar as SSE makes the most of the business opportunities that have arisen because of ill judged government energy policy over many years.

One of the main root causes of all this is a compliant local council who did not foresee what a monster they were unleashing when they welcomed the wind industry with open arms.

Frank Hay
Sustainable Shetland


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