Wood and wind to mix at new heat plant

Plans are being developed for a wind turbine and wood-burning energy plant on a hill at the north end of Lerwick.

Consultant Synergie Environ in Aberdeen has been fronting the project for Whiteness businessman Angus Grains, who proposes a 500-watt turbine on North Hoo Field, near the former Decca station.

The turbine would power a bio­mass plant, fuelled by wood chips and pellets, the heat from which is intended to supply the Lerwick district heating scheme, run by Shetland Charitable Trust’s company Shetland Heat Energy and Power (Sheap).

Similar schemes have been talked about previously by Sheap for com­munities like Mid Yell, Sandwick and Aith to establish district heating.

Land in the general area of the proposed plant is owned by Lerwick Port Authority and by businessmen-farmers Brian and Maurice Anderson.

Mr Grains’ intended turbine is a medium-sized two-bladed Windflow 500 from New Zealand, designed to be a lighter machine which combines a special gearbox with the ability of the rotor to “teeter” on a hinge to reduce excessive force from gusts and provide smooth power.

Its blade tips will reach 47 metres, which is considerably shorter than the highest Burradale generator tips which reach 71 metres.

The proposal met with a room of blank faces at Lerwick Community Council on Monday with none of the four SIC councillors in attendance having previously heard about it, including Viking Energy project man­ager Allan Wishart who won­dered where the wood to burn was going to come from.

At this stage no planning appli­cation has been submitted. Synergie Environ said it was conducting an “extensive pre-planning consultation exercise” and wants a response from the community council by 31st January at the latest.

Community council acting chair­woman Averil Simpson said it was strange none of the SIC councillors for Lerwick North had yet been consulted. It was decided to seek more information. “We can’t possibly comment on something we don’t know anything about,” she said.


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