Passionate arguments as Viking Energy goes on road with latest windfarm plans

Up to 150 people turned out to the first two Viking Energy exhibitions this week to view and discuss the proposals for the giant community windfarm.

Project manager Aaron Priest estimated 100 had visited Aith Hall on Monday, including many members of Sustainable Shetland, which is campaigning against the 150-turbine development. He said there had been local supporters too and, at Brae on Wednesday, he thought the vast majority of visitors had been in favour.

Mr Priest said people who engaged in discussion had been passionate in their arguments but it had all been very amicable.

A new leaflet available at the exhibitions claims that up to £30 million a year would be injected into the Shetland economy by the windfarm, including upwards of £18m to Shetland Charitable Trust each year, £2m in direct community payments, £3m in rents to landowners and crofting tenants and £4m in wages, business opportunities and other local benefits.

The exhibition included a large scale model of Shetland showing the windfarm turbines and a computer-generated show designed to simulate how the turbines would look from the different hills and dales of Shetland.

Representatives of the local trust-controlled company Viking Energy Limited were on hand to answer questions along with a team from partners Scottish and Southern Energy and its wind generation subsidiary Airtricity.

A second scale model was not ready for display this week. It has been made to a scale of 1:2,000 and focuses in on the swathe of the Mainland which the turbines will sit on.

Mr Priest said the model had been held up but would hopefully be on show at the remaining exhibitions on Wednesday in Voe, Thursday in Whiteness & Weisdale and Friday in Lerwick.


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