A SURVEY vessel has been at work in the first stages of planning for Viking Energy to establish its windfarm development.
The Franklin was studying the seabed at possible landing points between Weisdale and Sandsound and Portgordon on the Moray coast.
Owned by Swedish firm Marin Matteknik AB, the Franklin was helped by a smaller sister ship, the Ping, which worked in waters of less than 20 metres depth – areas too shallow for the Franklin to cover.
The move came as part of the windfarm company’s plans to connect Shetland to the UK grid using a 550MW cable, which would allow Viking to export power to the mainland. The final cost of the survey has not been disclosed, although it was underwritten by the National Grid, which asked for the work to be done.
Fitted with a side scan sonar and sub bottom profiling equipment, the Franklin began building up a picture of seabed contours and composition on 9th June.
She also carried out seabed sampling at selected locations using a vibrating corer.
ROV – or remotely operated vehicle – video surveys of inshore areas were also taken to support protected species or habitats.
The results of the seven week project will allow electricity company Scottish and Southern Energy to design a possible cable route and maximise the burial potential within the survey corridors.
The company also thanked fishing organisations, as well as individual fishermen, for their co-operation during the survey.
Revised plans for the windfarm in the Lang Kames were revealed by Viking Energy earlier this year, although the company is in the process of carrying out further consultation before work a planning application is lodged.