Leave it to those with mandate (Stephen Johnston)

I have been following the development of Viking Energy since it first started but unlike many of its fervent supporters and detractors have been unable to come to a clear decision as to whether or not it will ultimately be to the benefit of Shetland.

I agree wholeheartedly that Shetland needs all the employment it can get and also requires dependable, balanced, ethical sources of income if we are all to continue to enjoy anywhere near the standard of living to which most of us have become accustomed over the last 20-30 years.

My reluctance to accept that Viking is the answer to these problems is based on the very many unanswered questions surrounding the project, all of which have been well aired elsewhere. I have two principal concerns. Firstly, how can anyone have confidence that the present subsidy to onshore wind generation will continue at its present level? The subsidy to solar generation has recently been cut dramatically and it appears that there will be a need to increase the subsidy to offshore wind, tide and wave generation. Any reduction in subsidy to onshore wind will come straight off the profits projected by Viking. Secondly, how much more of Shetland’s funds will be ploughed into this before there is a guarantee that the interconnector will be provided?

My reason for voicing these concerns now is the announcement that another attempt is to be made on Monday to discuss the investment of a further £6.3m in the wind farm – three days before up to 19 of the present trustees could cease to hold their positions. Chairman Bill Manson is quoted in your article as stating that the trustees “feel the decision is such an important one it needs to be discussed”. Unquestionably the decision is an important one, perhaps one of the most important many of these trustees will make, but surely it could have been delayed until after the election and the subsequent appointment of trustees who have a mandate both to make that decision and to take any further action which follows from the decision? It appears that the other partners in Viking are not putting pressure on for a decision to be made, so why the need to proceed with this 11th hour attempt to release funds from the trust? Finally, I think the electorate deserve to know which trustees requisitioned this meeting.

Stephen Johnston



Add Your Comment
  • Harry Hatton

    • April 27th, 2012 17:00

    With all the heated arguments and individual points of view being challenged regarding the expectations of Viking Energy, some clear evidence needs to be presented to the populous as to just how efficient /inefficient large scale wind power is: to this end, I’ve attached a link to the National Grid’s realtime outturn, plus historical data and predicted data. Near the bottom of the graphical data displays, wind power is presented is a percentage of the national generation together with all the current installed capacity. National Grid have an obligation to take wind power before any other generation but of course, the unreliability of wind means that fossil fuel generators have to run at inefficient reduced loads to provide spinning reserve for when the wind patterns change. I personally find it difficult to agree that large scale wind power is efficient and without the huge subsidies that wind power enjoys, it would make no financial sense to invest in large scale wind power.

    It seems to me that the if the SCT award a further £6m to Viking Energy, then they will be doing nothing more than gambling our money on the Grand National at a time when services are being wound down and spending cuts applied.

    Please bear this in mind when you vote in the local elections as you may regret voting for the wrong people!

    The website can be found at http://www.bmreports.com/bsp/bsp_home.htm

    Harry Hatton MIET

  • Derick Tulloch

    • April 27th, 2012 23:41

    As we all know, large scale electrical storage is perfectly possible as flow batteries can be as big as they need to be.

    Prudent Energy in the USA has made a good start.



    Of course a grid scale flow battery would need a site which had could provide suitable hard standing to place a number of large tanks for the battery. Now where in the world would there be such as site??

    learned a new word this week. BANANA those who wish to Ban Anything Anywhere Always. The big cousin of the NIMBY


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