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SSE green lights Viking onshore wind farm

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SSE has made a final investment decision for the 103-turbine, 443MW Viking onshore wind farm, located in Shetland.

Viking is wholly owned by SSE Renewables having been developed in partnership with Viking Energy Shetland.

Once built it will be the largest onshore wind farm in the UK in terms of annual electricity output, which is expected to be around 1.9TWh each year, therefore playing a vital role in contributing towards the UK and Scotland’s net-zero targets.

SSE now awaits the outcome of the consultation on Ofgem’s minded-to position to approve a 600MW transmission connection from Shetland to the GB mainland, expected in July 2020. Final approval from Ofgem was conditional on Viking wind farm reaching a positive final investment decision.

SSE’s capital expenditure on the wind farm is estimated to be around £580 million. Construction on the enabling works for the transmission link has started, with works on the wind farm starting late summer.

“Viking wind farm will help kickstart the green economic recovery, bringing much needed low-carbon investment to Shetland. In doing so, it will trigger the building of the associated transmission connection to the islands, which will itself help resolve longstanding security of supply issues on the island.”

Jim Smith, managing director of SSE Renewables.

“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.”

Paul Wheelhouse, Scottish Government energy minister.
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