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.
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