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Energy / Decommissioning bond to be in place soon, Viking liaison meeting told

The construction of the Viking wind farm is on track to be completed by September next year. Photo: Shetland News

A £40 MILLION decommissioning bond for the Viking Energy wind farm is likely to be in place soon, according to the council’s director of development service.

Neil Grant was responding to a question asked at last night’s (Tuesday) meeting of the Viking community liaison group.

The lack of a decommissioning bond for the 103-turbine wind farm has been a bone of contention ever since construction started in summer of 2020.

The wind farm’s planning consent states that no work on site should start until a decommission bond had been signed off.

A decommissioning bond is required to be in place for large energy projects to ensure sufficient funds are in place to allow decommissioning and restoration of the site at the end of the development’s life.

Back in November 2020, Grant said he did not feel the council negotiating position had been weakened or undermined by allowing construction to commence before such a bond agreement was in place.

Since then, lawyers acting on behalf of the council, developer SSE Renewables and the bank which will hold the decommissioning bond, had been negotiating the value and the terms of the bond.

Asked by Tingwall, Weisdale and Whiteness community councillor Neil Leask whether the bond would be in place before the wind farm and its associated infrastructure is complete, Grant responded by saying that a deal was close.

“We have been working with SSE and one of the big banks in getting a £40 million standby letter of credit in place,” the council director said.

“Whilst we have been working on it for a while, it’s pretty close to be completed. It requires all three parties to sign up and it also has a set of conditions in terms of how the bond then applies to the various landowners.

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“It’s not far away now but, yes, [and] I appreciate it has been ongoing for a while.”

Meanwhile, the meeting hosted online by Tingwall, Weisdale and Whiteness community council, heard that the various elements of the project was progressing as planned with an unchanged completion date of autumn next year.

Viking’s civil and construction interface manager Gerry Hamill said that SSE Renewables had so far spent £72 million with 70 local businesses.

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