Viking approval secures £580m green recovery investment for Shetland

SSE Renewables has pledged a near-£600 million investment in a giant Shetland onshore wind farm project.

The firm announced today it has taken a final investment decision on the 103-turbine Viking Onshore Wind Farm, which lost out on a UK Government subsidy bid in September.

SSE Renewables will make a £580m investment.

The 443 megawatt (MW) project it will be the UK’s largest onshore wind farm in terms of annual electricity output once complete.

The development should create around 400 jobs at peak construction, with a further 35 full-time local operation and maintenance jobs throughout its life.

Jim Smith, managing director of SSE Renewables said: “Viking Wind Farm will help kickstart the green economic recovery, bringing much needed low carbon investment to Shetland.

“This project will bring benefits threefold for the island; harnessing its renewable potential, securing its electricity supplies for the long term, and helping decarbonise electricity.

“After more than a decade working closely with the community we are delighted to reach this stage and be playing our part in Shetland’s net zero future.”

The project received a significant shot in the arm after Ofgem said it was ready to rubber stamp proposals for an energy link between Shetland and mainland Scotland in April.

Ofgem approved plans tabled by SSE subsidiary Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) to build a 600 megawatt (MW) subsea electricity transmission link.

Construction will start on Viking in late summer and is expected to be completed in early 2024.

Scottish Government Energy Minister, Paul Wheelhouse, said: “This is excellent news for Shetland, and for Scotland’s renewable energy and climate change ambitions.

“The Viking wind farm project is also a great symbol for the green recovery that the Scottish Government is determined to foster and encourage, as we move through and beyond the current Coronavirus pandemic.

“This decision is of sufficient scale to act as the trigger to unlock the much anticipated major investment in a high voltage connection from Shetland to mainland Scotland, subject to a final decision by Ofgem which we expect shortly.

“It is essential that the community of Shetland benefits from this project and we look forward to further news of contracts being awarded to local businesses, as well as Scotland as a whole, during the construction phase.

“I am determined that this excellent outcome should be a starting point for similar investments and connections to unlock equivalent potential and benefits on the Western Isles and in Orkney.”

The wind farm project is wholly owned by SSE Renewables and is being developed with community partnership Viking Energy Shetland.

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