THE DEVELOPER behind a proposed wind farm in the north of Yell has taken five more turbines out of the project.
It means a total of 18 turbines would now make up the Energy Isles wind farm, should it be successful in getting planning consent. The wind farm is being developed by Norwegian energy company Statkraft.
Another proposed change is that all turbines would be reduced to 180m to tip height.
Previously 14 turbines in the scheme were set to be 200m and the rest 180m.
In comparison, the Viking Energy turbines will be 155m.
It comes after concerns were expressed by NatureScot and Shetland Islands Council about the visual impact of the proposal on the Shetland National Scenic Area.
The total power output of the development, which would be located south of Gloup, is now estimated to be around 126MW.
Under the new plans the overall footprint of the site would be around 280,000 square metres.
This is a far cry from the 483,000 square metres originally proposed back in 2019.
Under the 2019 plans, 29 turbines were proposed – a number which has been whittled down through the planning process. It had already been scaled back from a much larger 63-turbine development in 2014.
There is now four borrow pits proposed instead of the previous seven, and the developer says the smaller size of development will result in a “substantial reduction in anticipated volumes of peat to be excavated”.
A second round of supplementary environmental information has now been published.
Derek Jamieson, director of Energy Isles Limited – the consortium of mainly local businesses backing the development – said: “We have listened carefully to the feedback received.
“These alterations form part of the refinement process, while still maximising electricity generation, which will increase the economic benefit for the North Isles and Shetland as a whole.”
As the wind farm would be greater than 50MW in output, the application is being determined by the Scottish Government.
Documents submitted to its Energy Consents Unit point towards the need for net zero and the opportunity for a ‘green’ recovery from Covid.
Energy Isles said its wind warm would make a “valuable contribution to the attainment of the UK and Scottish Government policies of encouraging renewable energy developments”, and notes a carbon payback time of 1.7 years.
A refreshed planning statement says “when all the relevant considerations have been properly considered, the balance strongly favours the granting of consent”.
The wind farm previously attracted objections from organisations such as Scottish Environment Protection Agency and NatureScot over building on blanket bog.
Shetland Amenity Trust also said it believed the location is unsuitable for the development.
It was confirmed this summer that the date which Energy Isles could switch on has been pushed back two years to 2027.
Yell already has one consented wind farm proposed for development – Peel Energy’s 17-turbine project in the south of the island.