People in Shetland had a chance this week to view Scottish and Southern Energy’s plans for a new £150 million power station in Lerwick, the construction of which could begin in less than a year.
The plans were on display in the museum and archives auditorium on Tuesday, along with outlined results of the company’s environmental impact assessment.
The new power station will be located at Rova Head, close to the incinerator, and will occupy a space of around 12 hectares. The accompanying image shows how the plant will be built into the side of the hill.
The station will be a duel fuel plant, able to run on both light fuel oil and natural gas. But whether it burns the former or the latter depends largely on whether the Viking Energy windfarm is built, and specifically whether the interconnector cable to the mainland goes ahead.
Project development manager Jim Lawrie explained that “if Shetland isn’t connected to the mainland, the cheapest fuel to operate the plant on a 24/7 basis would be gas”. In that case, a pipeline from the Shetland gas plant would be required.
Mr Lawrie said: “However, if we are connected to the mainland, the station would only run in the event of the cable being out for planned maintenance or a failure.
“It wouldn’t be cost effective under that scenario to install a gas pipeline, [which would cost] anything up to £50-60 million. We would run it then on light fuel oil.”
SSE’s application for the power station will be put to the Scottish government in the summer, and the company hopes to get planning consent by early next year.
If the building contract is awarded by the spring of 2014 the station could be up and running by the end of 2016 or early 2017. At the height of construction, as many as 400 workers may be required.
Scottish and Southern is now hoping for local people to get involved before the application is submitted.
Mr Lawrie added: “We encourage people to comment as much as they can. All the comments collated will go along with our application to the Scottish government in a few weeks time. If people feel strongly either way, we’d encourage them to let us know.”
More details on the new power station can be found at www.sse.com/lerwick.