Mythical pot at end of rainbow (Allan Pring)

Ever since the Viking Energy project was first mooted it has been my considered opinion that it had the potential to be a financial disaster for the people of Shetland.

As time passes all I see is loss of income and the likelihood of crippling debt.

Leaving aside all other considerations, the destruction of a unique landscape, the impact on all the folk unfortunate to live in proximity to a massive wind turbine, the loss of value in their homes, health considerations and the impact on wildlife, just consider the picture of a pot of gold waiting to be picked up virtually without any Shetlander lifting a finger to gain enormous wealth without effort.

This is the picture as presented by the supporters of the scheme. It is more likely that the pot of gold will turn out to be just that, a mythical pot at the end of a rainbow.

Consider the facts. To date the Shetland Charitable Trust has spent, I cannot say invested, around £12 million of the people of Shetland’s money into Viking Energy.

It is still possible to achieve an income from stock market shares of four per cent net of tax. With £12 million at four per cent = £480,000 a year, therefore Shetland has already lost, say in five years, almost £2.5 million.

And how long is it going to be before Viking Energy produces a profit if the windfarm is ever built? And that is a very big “if”.

Has it escaped the notice of the charitable trust that quietly all over the world more and more electricity is being produced from turbines mounted on the seabed using the utterly dependable source of tidal power?

I suggest that the future sources of renewable energy, guaranteed and totally reliable as long as there are tides, will represent the future, not wind power which is becoming more and more discredited on grounds of cost and dependancy.

Dreams can be attractive and the wish for a pot of gold to solve all problems has been around for a long time. But remember that some dreams turn into horrendous nightmares.

I suggest that the charitable trust offers its stake in Viking Energy for sale on the open market and find out how attractive their investment actually is to worldwide professionals, not local amateurs, however well their intentions.

Allan Pring
(formerly Dunrossness)


Add Your Comment
  • Suzy Jolly

    • February 14th, 2015 17:14

    It would appear that the SCT are already so skint that they can’t afford to pay someone to update their own website. The last “News” item on their website was August 2014. Now if they can’t afford to do that, how on earth are they going to afford to give money to The Recreational Trust, The Arts Trust, The Amenity Trust, and any other organisation which partially relies upon funds from the SCT?

    Removing £70 million from their existing pot to go to VE creates more than a little cashflow problem, does it not? Please don’t tell me that the SCT are going to fall for any Government saying that they will do anything they can to assist like the SIC Housing fiasco all those years ago.

    When precisely is the next meeting of the SCT Trustees? You want us to trust you? Televise the meeting and don’t you DARE attempt to hold any part of it behind closed doors; it’s Shetlanders’ money you’re attempting to gamble with.

  • David Spence

    • February 15th, 2015 2:52

    I could not agree more, Suzy.

    It seems to have totally escaped the SCT that they are using Shetland money (the people of Shetland, and not just those with invested interests, like those in the SCT and those in the VEP) for a project that is not, by any accounts, financially viable.

    As I have mentioned before, there definitely should be a public enquiry into the SCT, who advised the SCT to invest in this project and who within or outwith the SCT will personally benefit from this project.

    Yes, we are told that the SCT is to supposed to represent the people of Shetland, but basing this on their behaviour and the millions they already given the VEP, I very much doubt people in Shetland have much faith in the SCT and their representation on behalf of the people of Shetland.

    Here is something most and very odd : The SCT are paying staff of the VEP before the business is up and running……….how ludicrous is that? Well folks, tragic as it is, the SCT are actually doing it.

    As for the mounting costs of the project, the massive cost of an Interconnector Cable and the continued paying of staff towards a business that does not exist, this is going to leave the SCT bankrupt before the proposed VEP remotely gets off the ground.

    The VEP is the wind, and it is for certain blowing the ship of the SCT onto the rocks. (pardon the punn).

  • Brenda Herrick

    • February 17th, 2015 18:16

    SCT are a registered charity and I see from their website that they have been investigated in the not too distant past. Perhaps it is time for OSCR to have another look them.


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