Saturday 13 July 2024
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Energy / Offshore wind farm team targeting 2030s for construction

An example of floating wind turbines.

THE TEAM behind plans for an offshore wind farm to the east of Shetland estimate that construction could begin in the early 2030s, subject to consents being granted.

The Arven wind farm could host around 160 floating wind turbines.

A public engagement event on the wind farm is being held at the Shetland Museum today (Wednesday) until 8pm, and the information on show is also available online.

Arven is one of two wind farms being proposed to the east of Shetland, but it is by far the largest of the two.

It is proposing a generating capacity of 2.3GW – around five times that of the onshore Viking Energy wind farm which is set to go live in Shetland later this year.

Arven claims this is equivalent to the annual consumption of two million homes.

It is being jointly developed by Mainstream Renewable Power and Ocean Winds, with former Viking Energy man Aaron Priest working as a stakeholder manager, and leasing is coming through Crown Estate Scotland’s ScotWind programme.

Arven would be located around 30 kilometres off Shetland, and the connection to the grid is currently being considered.

A recent draft energy strategy published by Shetland Islands Council said one option for offshore wind farms east of the isles would be to run a subsea cable to Shetland itself.

“Power from the offshore wind farm will be exported to the national grid and may also support alternative opportunities such as production of green hydrogen or associated products,” the wind farm team added.

Regarding benefits to the Shetland community, Arven’s website says: “Both shareholders have a strong track record in commitment to developing regional and local infrastructure, and local industry will be at the core of Arven’s development.

“Additionally, around 1,500 direct and indirect jobs will be created during the construction phase, plus long-term positions during the operational phase.”

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Information shown to the engagement event highlights how the aim is to submit an offshore scoping report this year, as well as an onshore one in 2025.

In 2026 there would be consent applications and environmental impact assessment report submissions – with the hope of consents being awarded in 2027.

If construction begins in the early 2030s then indicative timescales place operation from the mid 2030s.

There has been strong concern from the fishing sector over the development of offshore wind, particularly over the potential loss of traditional fishing grounds.

Arven said it will “continue to engage with representatives of fisheries associations and organisations to corroborate baseline data, gain insight into fishing methods used, understand the views of fisheries stakeholders and discuss approaches to mitigation and monitoring”.

An environmental impact assessment will assess the potential effects on commercial fisheries.

The wind farm team added: “Arven and its company fisheries liaison officer are keen to ensure early and effective engagement with both mobile and static gear sectors to understand concerns and, where possible, maximise coexistence.”

When it comes to the supply chain, Arven said it will “create economic opportunities for Shetland, Scotland and the rest of the UK”.

The other wind farm mooted for the east of Shetland is Stoura, which at 500MW is much smaller than Arven.

Stoura, around 40km from Shetland, is being developed by Irish company ESB.

Supply chain commitments previously released show that the spend on the offshore wind projects would stretch into the billions.

Previously three sites were mooted east of Shetland, but Mainstream Renewable Power and Ocean Winds teamed up to bring together two of the areas.

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