I have only yesterday become aware of the SIC Economic Development Policy 2007-2011, which was approved by the full council on 14th May 2008.
In Policy no.17, “Continue the development of the Viking Energy community [sic] wind farm project”, it is pledged that there will be an interconnector by 2012, that full planning permission for the Viking windfarm will be achieved in 2010 and that the project will be under construction by 2011.
Elsewhere in the document it is stated that Shetland’s energy needs will be fully provided for by Viking Energy by 2016, and that energy will be exported to the UK mainland via the interconnector.
The pledges will be delivered by the following means:
“Work with project partners to lobby government agencies to achieve interconnector.”
“Provide full information necessary for planning permission to be achieved.”
“Identify correct financial and operational structure for bringing the project forward.”
The lead SIC member for this policy is the chair of the development committee (presently Josie Simpson).
There is also a cost: “£0.2m (contingency budget for project continuing for extended period).”
I can perhaps assume that this cost is already being, or just about to be, incurred, as 2010 is nearly past, and the current construction start date is now 2013.
What really concerns me, however, is that, so far as I know, not one councillor has come clean and admitted that this is how far the SIC is committed to this project. And of course (as if we didn’t suspect already) it makes a complete nonsense of any “promises” that the project will not go ahead if the majority of Shetlanders don’t want it.
Perhaps we may at least be allowed to know on what the contingency budget is actually to be spent?