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Shetland: Wind farm halfway complete with 52 turbines installed – whilst locals raise concerns

Publication: Shetland News

View from a Wind Farm
Viking wind farm seen from the Vidlin. ©Shetland News

Construction work at night is permitted, says SSE. A total of 16 turbines will be fitted with red aviation lights

The Viking Energy wind farm (VEWF) has reached a “major milestone” with more than half of its 103 turbines now installed in Shetland.

Work began in February and is expected to be finished later this year. The aim is for the wind farm to be fully operational by autumn 2024.

Once operational, the SSE-owned wind farm will have a capacity of 443 MW.

Paul Nicolson, head of onshore renewables development and construction, said: “The installation of the 52nd turbine near Scar Quilse off the A970 is an exciting milestone for the project.

“The progress reflects our strategy to lead the transition to a net zero future through the world-class development, construction and operation of renewable power assets.”

However, many Shetlanders have taken to social media since construction began to share their dislike of the new fixtures on the horizon.

Concerns have also been raised about work being carried out in the middle of the night.

A spokesperson from VEWF told Shetland News: “As set out within VEWF’s consent conditions, certain types of construction work are restricted during set times.

“However, outwith the restricted times, stipulated levels of work are permissible – this specifically includes turbine erection, which continues to progress across the site.”

They also said that there are currently four main cranes and erection teams working day shifts and separate erection teams working night shifts.

According to VEWF, teams work six shifts each week with work not usually taking place on Saturday night and Sunday daytime.

The spokesperson could also confirm that red aviation lights will not be installed on all 103 turbines but on 16 around the edge of the wind farm.

They will be illuminated at night in line with International Civil Aviation Organization regulations.

Locals were further confused by black stripes appearing on some of the turbines.

VEWF’s spokesperson said: “The black stripes are bags that are installed onto the blades and provide a protective measure during the construction and preservation period to mitigate the impact of side winds which can cause damage to the turbine blades before they are in full working condition.”