Windfarm converter station would result in negligible carbon losses, Hydro claims

The construction of a converter station to send electricity from the Viking Energy windfarm to mainland Scotland would result in negligible carbon dioxide losses in Shetland, according to Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission Ltd (SHETL).

In its planning application to build two such stations, one at Upper Kergord and the other at Blackhillock, near Keith, in Moray, which would be connected by an underground and subsea high voltage direct current (HVDC) cable, the firm states that while 50,000m² of peat will have to be dug out at Kergord this will be re-used in site restoration and along the underground cable route.

The Kergord application, submitted to SIC on Tuesday, states: “The loss or disturbance of peat also has the potential to lead to a carbon loss but this is not considered significant in its own right as a result of the expected re-use of peat on site and because the peat on site has already been degraded by agricultural operation.

“No large change to drainage is expected on the land surrounding the converter station … so carbon losses arising as a result of drainage or changes in water levels on peat leading to its drying out are not predicted to be significant.

“The project itself will facilitate the Viking windfarm which has the potential to contribute to reducing carbon emissions from electricity generation.”

Many critics of the windfarm have complained that the carbon impact of the interconnector should have been included in the Viking Energy carbon payback calculations.

The interconnector cable itself does not require a planning application. However, the construction of the Kergord converter station, which would transform the AC current from the windfarm to DC to minimise transmission losses, and the Blackhillock converter, which would transform it back again to be fed into the National Grid, do, require approval.

SIC had asked for SHETL for an environmental statement to accompany the Kergord application. Moray Council did not ask for an environmental statement with regard to the Blackhillock application.

SHETL is legally obliged to build the interconnector if the Viking Energy windfarm is given planning consent by the Scottish Government.

Project Manager Greig Taylor said: “SHETL is committed to engaging with communities around our proposed projects and we are hopeful that the planning application will meet the requirements of the council, statutory consultees and expectations of the community.”

Copies of the full environmental statement and associated application, including maps showing the route, will be available from Monday 3rd August at Shetland Library, the SIC offices at Grantfield and the West Mainland leisure centre in Aith. 

A non-technical summary and maps can be seen at by following the links to Media Centre and Project Portfolio.


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