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Energy / Substation site ‘carefully chosen’, Statkraft says

Aerial view of a rugged terrain with a red outline marking a specific area, adjacent to a road and a developed zone with buildings.

ENERGY firm Statkraft has faced calls to relocate a proposed substation development for its upcoming Mossy Hill wind farm by a community council – but the company says two suggested alternative sites would not be viable.

The company intends to build a substation on the outskirts of Lerwick on land near to the junction where the A970 meets Ladies Drive, while there would be another building next to it for SSEN.

The substation would be required to connect the consented 12-turbine Mossy Hill wind farm, which would be located on land between Lerwick and Scalloway, to new electricity grid infrastructure currently being installed in Shetland.

Public consultation events were held recently but the Tingwall, Whiteness and Weisdale Community Council (TWWCC) is keen to see the proposed location change.

It says alternatives “should be investigated that would avoid digging up yet more of Shetland’s landscape”.

Image: Statkraft

The community council has suggested either an existing industrial zone at Gremista next to the buildings SSEN are constructing, or on the Staneyhill quarry site.

The community council’s chair Andrew Archer said the Mossy Hill substation is another element of the cumulative impact of other wind farm and energy work ongoing in Shetland.

“I think that many people have looked at the pictures of the proposals without realising how big these buildings are,” he added.

“The larger building is 105 metres long – that’s longer than the new Anderson High School building.

“Rather than digging up yet another bit of the landscape, TWWCC feels that other options should be properly explored before the proposals go any further.

“The Staneyhill quarry is less than 100 metres from the edge of Statkraft’s proposed site.

“The quarry is a large site and, if the buildings were placed there, no one would have to see them.

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“TWWCC met with Statkraft last week and they won’t even consider our suggestion.

“We are asking them to pause the process, talk to the quarry owner and the quarry operator and see whether it is possible. Surely that’s not too much to ask.”

In response Statkraft’s John Thouless said: ‘We’re really grateful for everyone who has been in touch about the plans for Mossy Hill substation.

“The site has been carefully chosen, in order to safeguard critical infrastructure, minimise visual impact, and reduce disruption for local residents during construction.

“I’m looking forward to speaking to members of the local community soon, as our plans progress.”

It is understood that building a substation at Gremista would mean establishing two separate construction sites, with more land needed to be dug up to run cables between the sites.

There is also thought to be a risk of local power outages in the future if a major substation was built on a site shared with an operational quarry.

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