Save the world – for a day

We should welcome Viking Energy. Shetland has to play its part in helping reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Much of the electricity generated by Viking will be “carbon-free”, therefore it must be worth it. The loss of landscape, wildlife, etc is a small price to pay for helping “save the world” for our children and their children, etc.

Like most simple-minded arguments it sounds convincing. It even has some truth to it. Yes, Viking will displace carbon-burning alternatives, but that is only part of the story.
Worldwide consumption of electricity generated by fossil fuels will continue to climb in the future as China’s industries expand further and less-developed countries seek a lifestyle similar to ours. Between now and 2035 (thereabouts a likely end point to Viking) fossil-fuelled electricity production will grow by some 435,000 GWh annually (US International Energy Administration figures).

Assuming Viking operates at say 50 per cent capacity (we can niggle a little about this but it is a fair guess and makes little difference anyway) then it can generate around 2,000 GWh a year. This represents just about 40 hours of the continuing growth of fossil-fuelled electricity.

So there you have it. You can cover Shetland in wind turbines if you wish. They may be an eyesore for 25 years but you are doing your bit for the world. All one and a half days of it.
You make your choice. That day and half means that if the world was going to end or whatever because of fossil-fuelled electricity say early Monday morning, because of Viking it will last till Tuesday evening. Enough time for a dram and to drive to Sumburgh, run up the hill, turn around and fart into the gale. It will have as much effect on saving us from global warming as Viking will.

Perhaps they’ll call it “Shetland day” to remind the world we trashed Shetland for those extra 40 hours. Oh and I am not really condoning driving after that dram. Might be best to take a bus.

Adrian R Yallop


Add Your Comment
  • Matthew Laurenson

    • November 8th, 2010 16:29

    In order to ascertain how effective a project will be, you can’t measure it against global energy usage, then throw it out because it won’t change the world dramatically. If every energy supplier took this view, i would dread to think what the outcome might be.

    During the lectures of my renewable energy engineering classes taken at Heriot Watt University, we studied the impact of wind developments, and studied how global energy demand was changing, and how alternative energy sourced could and should be tapped.

    In the course we learned that Shetland does indeed possess considerable renewable energy potential, when i was sitting in one lecture we actually did a short case study on the Burradale wind farm, with a load capacity and efficiency that most other wind farms could only dream of. It seems this well known fact is lost on detractors from the VE project.

    The economic and social benefits provided by this project will by far outweigh the potential visual impact, which will NOT spoil the best Shetland views. Shetland can become a leader in the implementation of renewables, and to come with negative, doom and gloom information which only shows one side of the argument can be misleading.

    The overall impact of man on the global climate can be debated, but the need for secure energy supplies cannot. The need for Shetland to look forward economically can also not be disputed. The social and economic benefits of the revenue from the VE windfarm and other associated developments is a prize too valuable to be squandered. Shetland would not be “trashed” by this development, but given a more secure future.

    For those interested in studying renewable energy engineering at the postgraduate level, please see:

    Kind Regards,
    Matthew Laurenson


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