Yell windfarm ‘two years from generating power’

A community-owned windfarm in Yell is just two years from generating green energy now the isle has been promised a grid connection.

The offer by Scottish and Southern Energy paves the way for the Yell Development Council to build five 900 killowatt turbines at a site between Basta Voe and Gloup.

Once the turbines are paid for the body will sell up to £1.3 million-worth of electricity per annum to the National Grid through SSE’s NINES “smart grid” project, it was claimed today.

The move will give the isle a 4.5 megawatt windfarm similar in size to the development at Burradale, but with a marginally bigger output.

Also planned for development this year is the world’s first community tidal-generator.

Chairman of the development body, Robert Henderson, said the task now would be to procure £6 million from lenders to start laying the road into the site.

“The connection we were offered from Scottish and Southern allows us to connect on to the National Grid in May 2015. We basically have a two-year period to get our finances in place and the project complete.”

He added there was no end to the possibilities for Yell once community projects which could benefit from the money generated are examined.

“We’re all delighted. It is something that has been a major development in this project.”

The news emerged after SSE chairman Ian Marchant gave a talk at the Shetland Museum on a visit ahead of his stepping down from the organisation.

Mr Marchant spoke of his affection for Shetland and said that, during his 10 years as chief executive of SSE, he had visited the isles probably more times than all other Scottish islands put together.

Mr Marchmont added Shetland was well poised to become a key player in renewables.

He said the planned interconnector would enable Shetland to aspire to “zero-carbon” heating and transport. The new power station would also be green and efficient, he said, which would only rely on fossil fuels when the cable link is down.

He also highlighted statistics concerning the generation of electricity in Shetland, past and present. When the original Hydro Board took over in Shetland in 1949, he said there were 1,953 connected customers. Now there are nearly 11,000.

The capacity of the power station at that time was just 2.3 megawatts, which, he said, is less than the output of a single, large turbine.

Power usage increased five-fold between 1971 and 1981, he added.

For more details and reaction to this story, see Friday’s Shetland Times. Send your views to, or leave a comment on the thread below.


Add Your Comment
  • ian tinkler

    • May 7th, 2013 20:30

    Forgive me for being somewhat cynical, “£1.3 million-worth of electricity per annum”, now who will get this £1.3 million? Landlord , Bank or SSE. Precious little to Shetlanders! Wake up Shetlanders, your future looks like a concrete and steel nightmare, a few crumbs may be thrown at you, but at such a cost. Anyone the courage to answer my question?, who will get this £1.3 million?

  • Colin Dickie

    • May 8th, 2013 12:13

    I’ve got the courage Mr Tinkler!

    Until the finances are secured I can’t give an accurate figure on how much interest will be paid to banks. However all profits generated by our wind farm will be retained within our community, including rental payments. After any bank loans are repaid this profit will increase and more money will be retained by our community.

    I hope this helps?

  • James Anderson

    • May 8th, 2013 13:42

    Ian – read the article again. Your answer is there in black and white in the third paragraph.

    Once again you make an exceptional fool of yourself in the name of scaremongering and self promotion.

  • ian tinkler

    • May 8th, 2013 18:23

    Colin that is fine, but which member of the community gets what, and in what proportion. Usually The Laid gets the lions share with SSE, whatever is left 5%? Might go on community projects. What sum of money goes to the lesser individual mortals in the community, sweet fanny Adams if previous Scottish community wind farms are your reference point? Now give me an approximate figure, each non landowning member of this community will pocket. My guess is nothing.

    Sorry James, try an honest answer to my questions, this exceptional fool would like you to at least try. If that is within your ability..

  • Gordon Harmer

    • May 9th, 2013 8:34

    Ian if this community project was based on the returns from Scottish community projects it would not do well as you say. That is because wind farms on the mainland generally run at around 32% efficiency. Where as the benchmark for efficiency in Shetland has been set at above 50% at Burradale.

  • ian tinkler

    • May 9th, 2013 13:59

    Gordon, I would totally be happy with this farm and Burradale, if 100% of the profits went directly to the individuals in the community. An even spread, not 90% to the fat cat businessmen, Lairds and assorted Bankers. Community windfarm is a term of obscure dishonesty; I ask again exactly who in the community is having their deep pockets lined?

  • Johan Adamson

    • May 9th, 2013 14:24

    Ian, I would think they have set up a community group which will get all the profits, after they have paid all their costs. I hope the build costs are not too high and the subsidies remain so that this community do benefit. I guess it will be up to the Trustees or committee then what they do with the money. At least it will be spent in Yell and not in Lerwick (when it is country people who will suffer from VE I would guess after the landlords the proceeds will benefit only Lerwick).

  • Linsey Nisbet

    • May 9th, 2013 14:59

    Just to reassure Ian. This windfarm project is owned and run by a voluntary community group. There are no Lairds involved. The returns will be used to benefit the community. Some suggestions have been to improve facilities at the local primary school – used by all young folk in the community- and to help local young people wishing to get onto the property ladder. The citizens of North Yell will have the opportunity to feed in ideas for other uses of the money to improve the local community for all the people who live in it. I hope this can reassure you that there are no pockets being lined from this great opportunity to harness one of our natural resources.

  • Colin Dickie

    • May 9th, 2013 15:37

    Mr Tinkler,

    Apologies if I’m not being clear. This wind farm is 100% owned by the North Yell Development Council which in turn is 100% owned by the people of North Yell. Therefore all profit will be returned to the 300 or so inhabitants of North Yell.

    Any clearer?

    Colin Dickie
    Project Manager
    North Yell Development Council

  • JohnTulloch, Arrochar

    • May 9th, 2013 17:15

    As this is genuinely community-owned and will bring a piece of serious engineering industry to one of the more remote parts of Shetland, where it can bring many side benefits, it’s difficult to criticise it.

    Given that there have been no howls of protest from local people in Yell and Unst the democratic process has clearly not been infringed and I don’t see that there’s too much more to be said beyond sincerely wishing North Yell every success for their “go-ahead-ness.”

  • ian tinkler

    • May 9th, 2013 19:51

    Very clear Colin, now why not spread the income evenly amongst the people of North Yell, Simple clear community ownership. Just whom do you propose manages and distributes these projected funds. Yourself and the North Yell Development Council perhaps? Having witnessed the self-serving attitude and antics of our own Shetland Charitable Trust Trustees I still remain very cynical of self-appointed guardians and manipulators of public funds. Do you have a problem with this?

  • James Anderson

    • May 10th, 2013 8:03

    Ian, you really do have no idea what you are talking about when it comes to communities do you. If the NYDC was to distribute monies in the way you suggest then the windfarm would no longer be owned by the community for the good of the community, but rather owned by individuals, the exact thing you claim to be against.

    Please do try to at least make an attemt at common sense in your future communications, it is now evident to even the most blinkered of readers that you are doing nothing more than “trolling” these comment pages. Try going outside and finding out what a real community is.

  • Ian Tinkler

    • May 10th, 2013 11:08

    Sorry James, I thought the community was all the individuals in that comunity. Clearly you fell a few self representative individuls (NYDC?) are somewho more important and have a God given right to control the monies as they see fit. Self interest ?.Yes we have seen it all before.Shetland Charitable Trust Trustees past and present are good examples.

  • John Anderson

    • May 10th, 2013 14:12

    Yeah, go on and do it Mr Tinkler’s way, cos then I’ll buy the next cheap house that comes up in North Yell, and sit on my backside waiting for my share of the money that I’ve not had to do anything to earn. Ker-chingg!

  • Sandy McDonald

    • May 10th, 2013 17:12

    I think it is a great initiative. Of course it should be run as a trust, otherwise only the folk that could afford to invest would benefit. This way the whole community can reap the rewards through better facilities and education. I do think that Iain seems to change his shorts to vilify anything to do with wind energy.

  • ian tinkler

    • May 10th, 2013 18:05

    That’s what wind farm speculation is all about, have you never noticed that before John. We agree on one thing at last. Think about it.

  • ian tinkler

    • May 10th, 2013 18:37

    Sandy. I repeat from, , Gordon, I would totally be happy with this farm and Burradale, if 100% of the profits went directly to the individuals in the community. An even spread, not 90% to the fat cat businessmen, Lairds and assorted Bankers. Community windfarm is a term of obscure dishonesty; I ask again exactly who in the community is having their deep pockets lined?
    – ian tinkler
    May 9, 2.
    If this is genuine community without the usual rip off boys, and only if, then good luck with it. I still believe tidal energy far better and less environmentally damaging option. Also only to provide Shetlands energy needs, not to empower Salmond.

  • Robert Lowes

    • May 11th, 2013 0:54

    Windfarm Speculation: scaremongering tripe dreamt up by people on the internet working from little or no information. See Tinkler, Ian for further details.

  • Raymond Smith

    • May 11th, 2013 6:49

    Well said Colin Dickie. It is good to see a community getting involved with wind turbines. There are a couple of community run wind turbines in Orkney and the monies have started to filter thru. Perhaps Ian Tinkler could look into them and understand the concept better.
    It is good to see positive news coming from the north isles as my late father came from Northavoe.
    Good luck

    Raymond Smith, Kirkwall

  • Johann Siebert

    • May 11th, 2013 6:58

    Any interconnector is a necessary precursor to substantial off-shore wind exploitation and this should be SSE’s Shetland strategy. The following is extracted from the Oct 2012 report (prepared for the Crown Estate) “UK Offshore Wind Market Study” by Redpoint Energy, and hopefully may be the basis of further debate…

    In terms of the total resource potential, in the Offshore Valuation Group Report of 2010, a collaborative project involving industry and Government, an estimate was made of the total practical offshore wind energy resource of 406 TWh/yr (116 GW) from fixed offshore wind turbines and a further 1,533 TWh/yr (350 GW installed) from floating offshore wind.9 To put this in context, total electricity sales in the UK in 2011 was around 308TWh.10 This suggests that there is no resource constraint on the proportion of UK electricity demand that can be generated from offshore wind – with the constraint imposed instead by social, economic, regulatory and technical factors. The raw resource that is available within UK waters is greater than that of any other European country


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