Government windfarm clarity expected in weeks

The UK government is poised to bring forward more details about its pre-election pledge to commit to onshore wind projects, potentially ending months of uncertainty over Shetland’s future energy supply.

The Shetland Times has learned an announcement is due later this month which, it is hoped, will provide vital information on how onshore wind will be supported.

It follows a Tory manifesto commitment to support land-based windfarms where a community benefit will result from their development.
However, no timescale was put on the commitment.

Any announcement cannot come soon enough for Shetland Islands Council, which has submitted a damning response to Ofgem’s consultation over a so-called new “energy solution” for the isles.

Officials and elected members have slammed controversial proposals put out for consultation by energy regulator Ofgem to run a 60MW subsea cable from Dounreay to the isles, with back-up power coming from a number of diesel-powered generators.

That came after plans for a replacement power station at Rova Head in Lerwick were put in cold storage as Ofgem sought best value.

In a special report in this week’s paper head of development Neil Grant and the development committee chairman, Alastair Cooper, lay bare the limitations of the proposed supply-only cable, amid concerns Shetland’s potential as an energy exporter will be lost if it cannot distribute power south as well.

However, Mr Cooper believes all might not be lost if clarity is offered in the near future.

“Ofgem and National Grid needs the UK government to clarify its position. They’re actually dealing with a situation that is in front of them today. They’re having to deal with the situation as they have it,” he told this newspaper.

“If the UK government would provide clarity on the remote island wind they may even, at this late stage, still be able to take a better decision.”

• For an in-depth look at the issues surrounding the proposed 60MW subsea cable and power generation in the isles pick up a copy of this week’s Shetland Times.


Add Your Comment
  • ian tinkler

    • September 16th, 2017 14:23

    Rather makes the much hailed “end for petrol and diesel as E-vehicle plan for Shetland” look a little premature. Green Lunacy at its best!!!

  • George Herraghty

    • September 16th, 2017 17:08

    The Greens Founder Calls Germany’s Renewables Policy:

    Otto Georg Schily wrote that Germany’s green energies are also “extremely socially unjust” because they force low income consumers to pay more money into the pockets of wealthy wind and solar park operators – in a classic redistribution from the bottom up.

    Moreover, the Basler Zeitung writes that the Energiewende has scarred Germany’s natural landscape, has probably cost more jobs than it created, and has “contributed nothing to climate policy as it hoped to do”.

    The Basler Zeitung also cites an “expert team” by McKinsey consulting group, which not long ago found that the German energy policy has fallen far short of its aims: “Emissions of climate-harmful carbon dioxide are not going down, but rather are increasing, as is power consumption even though it was supposed to go down because of efficiency measures.”

    stopthesethings June 6th 2017

  • John Tulloch

    • September 17th, 2017 11:49

    Have I missed something? Has there been a second Ofgem consultation, one that I’m unaware of?

    It is stated repeatedly in Friday’s ST coverage that the cable will be unable to export energy, for example:

    “But plans for Shetland’s so-called new “energy solution”have caused consternation, because it fails to allow for export of energy out of Shetland.”

    Where has this “no export” notion appeared from? The Ofgem consultation document states unequivocally:

    “3.3. ……….. The cable will have a 60MW import/export capability. The purpose of the competitive process was to secure Shetland’s demand, but the cable also has the technical capability to export 60MW.”

    The consultation document details what was being consulted upon. Presumably, it was circulated to NGSLL-Aggreko and SSE for comment, prior to issuing it to the public?

    Who has been telling who what, we may well ask?

    • Peter Henderson

      • September 17th, 2017 15:36

      Yet more questions asked by John Tulloch on the news site four in this case, instead of asking those who would be able to answer is questions. It’s either just laziness on his part or he is just stirring the pot thus not really caring about the questions he asks.

      • Johan Adamson

        • September 18th, 2017 11:14

        Actually I think this contribution is valuable to the debate as it points out that there is an export capability. How else would you like people to contribute to this?

    • Johan Adamson

      • September 20th, 2017 8:35

      Confused. I am lead to believe you need two cables one for import and one for export, so the planned one then does not have export capabilities. And to get another one would be way too expensive so is the SIC barking up the wrong tree again?

      Even if the government give the go ahead to onshore wind (but only for us poor islanders – not in their back yard) we still cannot afford the cable.

      And thank goodness since VE will destroy Shetland and we need to attract tourists and residents, not put them off and make them leave.

      • John Tulloch

        • September 20th, 2017 12:03


        The Ofgem consultation document refers to an installation price of £303 million and also (Section 3.3) states “The cable will have a 60MW import/export capability. The purpose of the competitive process was to secure Shetland’s demand, but the cable also has the technical capability to export 60MW.”

        If the cable is short of the necessary number of (single) cores to enable export then it does not have “the technical capability to export 60MW.”

        The consultation was founded on a price of £303 million for a cable with 60MW import/export capability. End of.

        Anything resembling the scenario you outline would make a mockery of the entire process and be completely unacceptable. The whole thing would have to be scrapped and run again.

      • Johan Adamson

        • September 21st, 2017 10:21

        So does this allow for VE or not?

      • John Tulloch

        • September 22nd, 2017 8:41


        No. A 60MW export capability is too small to accommodate VE wind farm (457MW, per last Friday’s article).

  • ian tinkler

    • September 18th, 2017 11:52

    Peter Henderson, do you not think the answers to these questions should not be in the public domain? For too long the Shetland public has been kept uninformed or deliberately misinformed, and the truth hidden. A simple unanswered question, for you and the Green lobby. Just how much has Shetland Island Council, Shetland Charitable Trust, Lerwick District Heating and Energy Recovery Plant and Highland and Island Development invested/squandered on Biomass and wood chip heating on Shetland. Just how many hundreds of thousands of pounds wasted on a technology which has been now shown to be more polluting and actively contributing to global warming than burning coal. Peter, I understand your political love of all things SNP, but you are blindly supporting a political dogma and an energy policy without question which may be of damage Shetland. Only the prejudiced of opinion would critique someone who is just asking for information, however, disturbing the answer may be to our politicians.

    • Peter Henderson

      • September 18th, 2017 16:26

      Hi Ian. I do believe the answers to these questions should be in the public domain as do you as does John Tulloch it seems so why not ask our politicians instead of discussing it on a news site? That’s my point. Are you scared to approach them or something? Both of you have access to all the council leaders contact details.

      As for you thinking you know my political love of all things SNP, not once have I never voted SNP, nor would I ever do so in the future. Such wild misjudgements and incorrect assumptions are probably why you continue to fail to get anywhere near the council the very people youre scared to approach.

      You finish by saying that only the prejudiced of opinion would critique someone who is just asking for information. Once again you’re asking the questions on a news site. Go contact the Council if you really want to know. I suspect you dont.

  • David Spence

    • September 18th, 2017 15:48

    May be it is just me, but I suspect many people in Shetland are wondering what is the situation with Viking Energy and the SCT. Is he SCT still pumping in millions into this or has the goal posts changed position with regard to Scottish Southern Electricity and their plans to build a cable from Shetland to Scotland, and save on building a new power station at Rova Head and, possibly, incorporate the Viking Energy Project?

    How much money, if any, will the SCT pay out towards this cable from Shetland to mainland Scotland.

    How much money will the SCT contribute to Scottish Southern Electricity’s plans?

    What exactly is the plan now?????

    • ian tinkler

      • September 18th, 2017 20:55

      David, do not expect an answer here, they have not the sense for a rational plan nor the intelligence and scientific knowledge to make one. Just as long as they get the grant money, that will do.

  • ian tinkler

    • September 18th, 2017 20:52

    PeterHenderson, maybe mistaken identity by me, sorry if so. Regarding asking Councilors for information, surely a public news site should be the very place to ask? I have read all the Councilors election manifestos and all their publicity releases, only now are their views and silly opinions being vented , for example “In a special report in this week’s paper head of development Neil Grant and the development committee chairman, Alastair Cooper, lay bare the limitations of the proposed supply-only cable, amid concerns Shetland’s potential as an energy exporter will be lost if it cannot distribute power south as well.” Again NB “supply-only cable!!” that is nonsense. It is hard to believe Grant and Cooper are so stupid as not to understand the Ofgem report. ” The cable will have a 60MW import/export capability. ” Maybe on second thoughts seeing the level of incompetence on display here, perhaps Grant and Cooper are as ignorant as they make themselves out to be!!!

  • Johan Adamson

    • September 19th, 2017 8:37

    How do you know they are not asking the council or whomever as well?

  • John Tulloch

    • September 22nd, 2017 8:44

    A more recent report elsewhere about the SIC’s consultation response (attributed to Development director Neil Grant) contained several quotes, but no mention of the cable being unable to export?

    However, Drew Ratter has repeated the “no export” allegation, in a bizarre spin-fest in The Scotsman.

    Re the 60MW cable, the SIC document apparently stated: “National Grid previously informed Shetland stakeholders that it is possible to scale the capacity of this 80kV interconnector up to 200MW….”

    And “…there should be as a minimum, an opportunity to increase the capacity of the proposed cable link from 60MW up to 200MW”…”

    No point having 200MW capacity for import only, so this seems to suggest the SIC knew the cable would have export capability?

    It’s Wool Week. When better to “pull the wool” and “spin fine yarns”?


Add Your Comment

Please note, it is the policy of The Shetland Times to publish comments and letters from named individuals only. Both forename and surname are required.

Comments are moderated. Contributors must observe normal standards of decency and tolerance for the opinions of others.

The views expressed are those of contributors and not of The Shetland Times.

The Shetland Times reserves the right to decline or remove any contribution without notice or stating reason.

Comments are limited to 200 words but please email longer articles or letters to for consideration and include a daytime telephone number and your address. If emailing information in confidence please put "Not for publication" in both the subject line and at the top of the main message.

200 words left

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Get Latest News in Your Inbox

Join the The Shetland Times mailing list to get one daily email update at midday on what's happening in Shetland.