Scottish civil engineering contractor RJ McLeod has been awarded the main contract to build the 103-turbine Viking Wind Farm, one of the largest contracts of this type ever awarded in Scotland.
The appointment follows SSE Renewables’ decision last month to invest £580 million in the 443 megawatt (MW) wind farm project developed by the Viking Energy Wind Farm partnership.
As part of its contract, RJ McLeod’s team will build the network of access tracks through the wind farm site as well as the new Sandwater road, construction compounds, and the bases and crane pads for the turbines.
RJ McLeod will bring local opportunities to Shetland, ranging from direct employment to plant hire and the supply of materials and other services to support its work.
“We are delighted to announce RJ McLeod as the civil contractor for our Viking Wind Farm. We have a strong track record of delivering onshore wind farms successfully together.SSE Renewables director of development Mike Seaton.
“SSE Renewables and RJ McLeod are committed to maximising opportunities for the local, Shetland, and wider Scottish supply chain from Viking’s construction and to creating significant employment opportunities while we build this excellent flagship onshore wind project.”
The Viking Wind Farm is expected to support around 400 jobs at peak construction with many of those expected to be filled by the local workforce in Shetland. During the operational lifetime of around 25 years, the project is estimated to support 35 local jobs annually.
Beyond supporting direct jobs associated with the wind farm, Viking will bring significant socio-economic benefits to Shetland, including a community benefit fund.
“We are very pleased to secure this high-profile contract. RJ McLeod has a wealth of experience of constructing windfarms and contracting successfully for SSE Renewables. We are used to working in remote locations, including historic experience of delivering projects in Shetland.RJ McLeod joint managing director Bruce Clark.
“As a business, we’re committed to approaching this contract in a way which seeks to maximise the opportunities for Shetland businesses.”
Viking Wind Farm will be the UK’s largest onshore wind farm in terms of annual electricity output, estimated to reach almost 1.9 terawatt-hours a year.
Construction of the project is programmed to begin in August and to be completed in 2024.