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Letters / Contempt for local people?

Statkraft’s disregard for communities and the environment continues. It has been found responsible for sludge pouring into the Surna River, Norway’s most important salmon river, leaving it lifeless of fish and birds. Around thirty kilometres of the river turned brown in what is possibly the largest spill in Norwegian history. 1

Its wind farm at Smola is killing white-tailed eagles. The island had one of the highest densities in the world, but the Norwegian government ignored warnings of the consequences for wildlife.2

Although its human rights violation of Norway’s Sami reindeer herders was finally settled by compensation and land grants 3, it appears that lessons were not learnt.

It now faces legal action in Chile. Three Indigenous Peoples groups are arguing that it sought authorisation for hydropower developments without consulting them and continued to advance the projects. 4

The Scottish Government talks frequently about a “just transition” to renewable energy, but there has been no meaningful dialogue with the ordinary people of Shetland. Only two weeks ago it was announced Statkraft is planning another hydrogen plant, which will be within four kilometres of Lerwick.

Statkraft exploring potential for another hydrogen project in Shetland

Important information about the proximity of the Energy Isles development (North Yell) to the tap water supply for Yell (Gossa Water) has not been made prominent.

The intended use of bird scarers to stop endangered (red list) bird species returning to their breeding grounds is buried in documentation. 5 At the Beaw Field site (South Yell) the recommended two kilometres setback limit of turbines from residences has not been observed.

Statkraft’s record on environmental stewardship is hardly unblemished, so excluding locals from participating in the decision as to whether they want Statkraft’s involvement in Shetland is disgraceful.

Once again, we are witnessing the pattern of contempt for local people.

Why are the Scottish Government and SIC inviting a company with a poor human rights and environmental record to build developments in Shetland when there is no guarantee that their behaviour will be any better here than it has been in Norway and Chile?

It is imperative lessons are learned from their actions in these countries and that further invitations to industrialise Shetland are withdrawn before any new permissions are granted.

Save Shetland
Ernie Ramaker


Statkraft has been approached to respond to the points raised in this letter.


  1. https://www-nrk-no.translate.goog/mr/statkraft-slapp-ut-slam-i-den-nasjonale-lakseelva-surna-_-kommune-og-elveeigarlaget-ha-erstatning-1.16564532?_x_tr_sl=auto&_x_tr_tl=en&_x_tr_hl=en-US&_x_tr_pto=wapp
  2. https://tethys.pnnl.gov/publications/searches-dead-birds-smola-wind-power-plant-area-2011-2013
  3. https://www.euronews.com/green/2024/03/07/sami-activists-backed-by-greta-thunberg-reach-deal-to-save-reindeer-farming-from-giant-win
  4. https://www.oecdwatch.org/complaint/mapuche-williche-communities-from-the-pilmayken-territory-et-al-vs-statkraft/
  5. https://www.statkraft.co.uk/globalassets/0/.uk/0–projects/wind/energy-isles/sei-2021-documents/general/chapter_2_sei_2_energy_isles_shadow_habitats_regulation_appraisal_2.pdf (page 19)


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