JV doubles generating capacity

SSE Generation and Viking Energy are to form a joint venture aimed at developing a 600MW wind farm on the Shetland Islands.

SSE Generation, a subsidiary of Scottish and Southern Energy, and Viking Energy have signed a Memorandum of Understanding which is expected to lead to the establishment of a joint venture aimed at developing a 600MW wind farm on the Shetland Islands.

Viking Energy was formed to represent Shetland Islands Council’s interests in large-scale wind energy development in Shetland. Its involvement would make the 600MW scheme the largest community-backed wind farm development in Europe.

SSE Generation and Viking Energy currently have separate proposals for 300MW wind farms in the central mainland of Shetland. They expect that the proposals will be combined and lead to the creation of a plan for a single 600MW wind farm.

Shetland is the windiest part of the UK which is, in turn, the windiest country in Europe. A wind farm on the Islands could be expected to have a load factor of up to 50%, meaning it would produce electricity at close to its maximum capacity for around half of the time. This would make it the most productive wind farm in Europe.

The development of the 600MW wind farm is subject to, amongst other things, the formal establishment of the joint venture between SSE Generation and Viking Energy, consent for the wind farm being secured from the Scottish Executive under Section 36 of the Electricity Act and on the provision of an undersea cable connecting the Islands to the electricity transmission system on the Scottish mainland.

At present, the Shetland electricity system is not connected to the electricity network on the mainland. The Islands are currently supplied by a 67MW power station at Lerwick, constructed in 1953, and by electricity generated at the Sullom Voe oil terminal and the existing Burradale wind farm.

The provision of an undersea cable by Scottish Hydro-Electric Transmission, also a subsidiary of SSE, requires Ofgem to approve the necessary investment.