25th January 2020
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Viking seeks update to install larger turbines

Viking Energy is applying to the Scottish government to increase the size of the turbines it has planned for the major windfarm development.

Viking is seeking a variation to the current planning consent for an increase in maximum tip height of up to 10 metres, from 145m to 155m with a corresponding increase in the turbine hub height from 90 to 95m.

The organisation says the change is intended to ensure the 103-turbine wind farm keeps up with the latest turbine technology, which, it says, has “advanced considerably” since the project launched more than 10 years ago.


  1. Julian Arculus

    In order to keep up with the latest turbine technology (which, as they say, has “advanced considerably” since the project launched more than 10 years ago), I propose they hold back for at least another 25 years, by which time I for one will be past caring…

  2. Barbara Gray

    Despite the representation showing such a small increase in the height of the turbines, they will be almost an extra 33 feet which will give them an overall height of 508 feet. Given these turbines will be placed on high ground, to suggest they will dominate the landscape is an understatement – just what the tourists come to Shetland to see.

    • Brian Smith

      As long as they’re not in Bressay or Sandness.

    • Wayne Conroy

      Only one and a half times the size of big ben… just little things… pfffffff.

      Absolutely ridiculous!

  3. John Tulloch

    I’ve seen wind turbines with these extra large blades between Stirling and Edinburgh. They are enormous and look awful.

    Worth recalling that the perceived size of the blade sweep (area of a circle) increases as the square of the radius (A = pi x r-sq’d) e.g. increasing the blade length by 1.41 times doubles the perceived size of the blade sweep, or, increasing blade length by 10% increases perceived size by 21%

    • Christopher Johnston

      John, the longer blades will increase the electrical power that each turbine can generate, giving VE more revenue.

      • MIchael Garriock

        That’s as may be, but revenue does not equal profit, and by the time the unsustainable level of subsidy has been removed, the SCT have been suckered in to paying for the export cable, and SSE have ensured their pound of flesh is as great as they can get away with, Shetland will never see its money back.

        More of nothing is still only nothing.

  4. William Polson

    If they are increasing the height of the turbines,does this mean that they would need to increase the size and depth of the anchor points; at what extra cost and who will pay?

    • John Tulloch

      Presumably, these are the latest models with towers and foundations redesigned, accordingly?

      The changes should improve cost-effectiveness and presumably, VE’s intention is to improve competitiveness for the auction, which requires cutting costs to the bone and squeezing every last drop of revenue from the project to keep it viable.

      Given that the last round of auctions produced winning ‘strike prices’ of £57.50/MWh, exactly half what VE insisted they needed for viability (Island Strike Price = £115/MWh), it makes you wonder, would winning an auction capture their fabled “pot of gold at Rainbow’s End” or would it be merely a poisoned chalice that provides little or no return – or worse…?

    • Christopher Johnston

      William, the size and cost of the foundations must be increased to accommodate more powerful wind turbines.

  5. Robert Sandison

    Larger Turbines require loads more concrete poured into the blanket bog all previous calculations EIA are out the window.

  6. Kay Wheatcroft

    If turbine technology has “advanced considerably” why can’t they make them smaller, considerably?

    • Christopher Johnston

      The “technology advance” is to produce turbines with increased electrical capacity, requiring longer blades and larger fondations. The thought is that one 6MW turbine will cost less to install, own, and maintain than two 3MW turbines.

  7. Sue Wailoo

    Mr Innes, Project Director for Viking Energy, is quoted elsewhere as saying “Viking is now competing against a new generation of wind farms, including those offshore, where tip heights of 200m or more are now available.” In that case why doesn’t he just put these turbines offshore as well.

  8. Haydn Gear

    Kay. Just a thought. Aircraft technology has advanced too and ‘planes get bigger and bigger. I suspect that miniaturisation , so beloved of the Japanese, whose watches, cameras , radios and a host of other products lead one to believe that for items to improve in performance , they need to get smaller. True in many instances but not all. That said, Japanese wind driven turbines might solve a few problems.

    • Ian Tinkler

      A point of interest regarding Japan and CO2 free energy (Clean/renewable). Japan is planning on using nuclear, not wind power, as a major source of electricity production. One may understand that Japan has greater first-hand knowledge of nuclear/atomic contamination than any other country on Earth having being subjected two atomic bombs and the Fukushima accident. Using that real information on real nuclear contamination, not the Green lunacy/crank disinformation, so prevalent in Scotland. Japan has a knowledge-led, intelligent energy policy. As of May 2018, there are 39 operable reactors in Japan. Of these, nine reactors in 5 power plants Additionally, five reactors have been approved for a start, and further 12 have start applications under review. It never ceases to amaze me how ignorance and fear shape energy policy. Japan is fully aware of the risks of nuclear; I reference “the Liberal Democratic Party cabinet in April 2014, calls nuclear power “the country’s most important power source”.[Japan is now aiming for “a realistic and balanced energy structure”. The Japanese Government targets for wind power deployment are set at only 1.7% of electricity production by 2030 (20% nuclear). That is a total figure, onshore and offshore. What a huge shame The Scottish Government is unwilling to do the same, it would save our countryside from so much uglly devastation.

  9. John Irvine

    It looks to me like the few who are involved in VE are trying to drag this scheme (if you can call it that) out as long as possible.
    Why?….. Well you don`t need a rocket scientist to figure that one out.

    If (god forbid) this horrendous project does go ahead it`ll be past its sell by the time it is finished and will be made obsolete by newer, more efficient and cleaner technology.

    When is the plug going to be pulled on this nonsense before any more money is lost to it?

  10. Linda Tait

    If Viking want to increase the turbine size, it is not unreasonable to anticipate that the other windfarm developers will do the same. The floodgates are being opened and, instead of being a world-class destination for wildlife & scenery, Shetland will become a world-class example of crass development without regard to the obvious damage to environment, health and wellbeing, not to mention income from tourism.

    Renewable energy should be pursued, but in Shetland’s case the cost of the VE project has already been far higher – in every sense – than the imagined benefits.

  11. David Spence

    I maybe wrong, but wind farm technology appears to be the cheapest form of producing electricity (to which the people of Shetland will not benefit from) in regard to other alternative sources of producing electricity.

    I am pretty sure wave and tidal energy could also be tapped into within Shetland, but economics seem to be based on the cheapest alternative compared to wave or tidal resources being the better, possibly, and significantly less intrusive than the massive wind turbines scaring the Shetland landscape and more than likely tourists remembering the islands not for its beauty but….well, it is self explanatory.

    The potential economic damage caused by the wind turbines I am pretty sure would outweigh any positive contribution the islands may have in regard to tourism or other positive attributes the islands may have.

    Time, no doubt, will be the final answer….. watch this space, as they say.

  12. Haydn Gear

    David. Just to be a bit more optimistic about wind farms , there is every likelihood that visitors to Shetland will already be familiar with rotating blades . It is a fast growing energy generation procedure so would not come as a shock. The other thing is , such equipment would almost certainly not be visible from all corners of Shetland. People would get used to them just as they are used to the island hopping planes. It’s a bit unfortunate that severe condemnation is a reaction ( by some) to newish ideas and inventions.

    • David Spence

      I take onboard your points, Haydn, but I think what is putting people off the VEP, is the shear cost of what it could possibly be. I have heard a figure not far short of kicking on the door of £2.0 Billion, and possibly more, and how many decades would this take to bring VEP into the black in terms of revenue? One should also look into the potential running and maintenance costs per year for such a project? Would the revenue created(?) be enough to off-set such costs or would VE require more funding from the SCT, to balance its books?

      It seems very evident, the more information people in Shetland know about VEP, the more people are put off the whole idea in terms of economics and what little benefit the islands may reap from it? I have heard a figure of around £1 million a year……….poor investment if the projected costs are to be believed. A return of around 0.05 of 1% does not bode well.

    • ian tinkler

      I have to take issue with you here Haydn, The proposed VE turbines will now be 155meres high and constructed on hills. The high point some 400meters plus above sea level. That would be the line of sight from sea level of about 45 miles. Precious little of Shetland would not see the VE turbines!! I note you claim “that severe condemnation is a reaction ( by some) to newish ideas and inventions”. I would respectfully point out wind turbines are hardly a new idea! Many consider them at the point of being an obsolete technology (Denmark German, Japan for example) Now for cutting-edge ideas, look to tidal generation and modular nuclear reactors. The latter (nuclear), I believe you are openly condemning, something about us all glowing in the dark was your comment!!! Now that was Scaremongering nonsense.

      • Graham Fleming

        Chernobyl now is going GREEN ,the abandoned zone round the plant has built its first solar powered plant.The Ukrainian government is seeking to build more in the area.
        Germany has very wisely learnt from others mistakes and is stopping the nuclear nonsense on its territory. With its trade balance,economy and European leadership role it can well afford more expensive (at the moment) means of electric production.Safe guarding its environment and people is a very wise insurance policy.
        Rosatom,Russias(Vlads) vehicle for nuclear expansion,has about 67% of new nuclear plant contracts in the bag,mainly in emerging and third world countries .If Chernobyl is anything to go by and what Russia the culprit did in rectifying the mess,novichok is going to be a piddle in the ocean in comparison.

  13. Billy Doig

    Read an article this morning.Wish I could remember which paper that said Germany’s 20 year old wind turbines are coming to the end of their usefulness and no longer qualify for subsidies. No recycling as the blades are made from fibre glass.Their plan is to dump them on third world nations so creating more waste rather than cleaning the mess up themselves. Viking energy should sit up and take not it but will have cloth ears when it comes to profit. Remember, as you sow,so shall ye reap.

    • Ian Tinkler

      Germany, by nature of its fragmented political system with government by weak coalitions only resulted in the Green Party (Crank Loony group) exercising much influence beyond their electoral mandate. Nuclear power was cut back as a political gesture to the Greens, that had nothing to do with the science of the matter. The result was a massive increase in coal-fired electrical generation and also the importation of Natural Gas. Germany is now the worlds largest importer of Natural Gas! and the German motor industries disingenuous diesel emission data is almost legendary!!!. Deaths from atmospheric pollution in Germany are massive and this year the EU is taking Germany to court for breaking all EU guidelines. It is indeed very ironic that the Scotish Government does so much to praise the use of Wind power and exploit all its rural communities to that end while it does all in its ability to expand Gas Exportation from the North Sea,. It likewise imports Gas (LPG fracked in the USA while banning fracking in Scotland) to Grangemouth and at all times try and use North Sea oil revenue to promote Nationalist agendas. The logic escapes me, perhaps you could explain Grahm,!!!

  14. Haydn Gear

    Billy , I understand where you are coming from when stating that 20 year old turbines in Germany are coming to the end of their lives , but is this surprising ? Since technological advances in vast areas of activity are so rapid it would be most unlikely for things to suddenly stand still. Try selling a 20 year old car , TV. washing machine , vacuum cleaner , racing bike etc etc. Virtually worthless . Fighter ‘planes cost £millions EACH so should we have stuck with the Tiger Moth to save money ? Times change continuously. No doubt some would like the world to stop to enable them to get off so that they could abandon their mortgage and live in a cave in a cosy corner of the Moon. All very whimsical but I’m sure you get the drift.

    • Ian Tinkler

      Interesting comment Haydn. I am unable to find any substantive advance in Wind Turbines as technology over the last 20 years. They are larger yes, but no less polluting and even more damaging to the environment. The most recent research would indicate that disturbance in airflow patterns and friction around the rotating blades not only creates more noise pollution but results in substantive heat creation. That heat creation in itself would and does contribute to global warming new research has shown. Reference “Harvard University’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences” would indicate wind power in the U.S. with wind alone would warm the planet a quarter-degree Celsius! If this research is proved correct, we will be decommissioning and scrapping wind turbines far sooner than the protagonist advocate. There are already far better ways of generating clean electricity than 155 meter high turbines, sadly too many have staked their reputations on the wind myth and will resist accepting they have been wrong

  15. Haydn Gear

    Fair enough Ian. I must confess that I was unaware of the likely height of the proposed turbine blades. I’m not so sure about Japan and others having a reducing intention to set up more turbines though. As for the comment I made about nuclear radiation causing people to glow in the dark —— you surely cannot be serious !!!! That was no more than a figure of speech. I hope you are merely poking fun at such a prospect. I know that glow worms emit light as do other creatures in the sea ( I’m fairly sure that most interested people know how and why ) but it’s silly to think that the effects on individuals who have been subjected to radiation for medical reasons would then walk about looking like Beacons. Give me a break Ian!

  16. Haydn Gear

    Ian. —- Your comments on October 7th at 20-45. Plenty of food for thought in your missive . Thanks.

  17. David Spence

    It is a balance between providing energy safely and economically, but our conventional methods of using fossil fuels has brought to the fore due to the impact such energy has had on the environment.

    However, whilst we are being side-tracked about the impact of fossil fuels, nobody has every mentioned the impact on the planet caused by agriculture. Agriculture, I believe, causes 6 times more green house gases than all of transportation put together?

    Not only does agriculture produce more green houses gases than transportation, it is the greatest cause of environmental destruction than any other industry. As our population grows, this will become more evident, as we see species upon species being put on the ‘ endangered species list ‘ or ‘ become extinct ‘. This man-made catastrophe will impact on other species and it will eventually impact the very existence of humans on the planet as nature takes revenge through disease, drought and other natural impacts.

    Progress in providing alternative energy may be a positive start, but at what price will this be to the planet and life, if this progress is purely based on the man-made concept of monetary value and this of profit?

  18. Mr ian Tinkler

    David Spence, the single most significant threats to humanity are overpopulation and our leaders, scientific, religious and political leader’s, utter cowardice to dare to mention such an undeniable fact. World population is set to double in 63 years. Energy needs, food supply, pollution are all driven by human population density. It makes no odds how many windmills we build whatever their size! Atmospheric pollution, global warming or starvation awaits and will kill all our children’s children as long as human overbreeding continues. It is hard to take the Greens cranks, politicians and doom-mongers of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change seriously when their reports fail to state, or take into account the blindingly obvious.

  19. Haydn Gear

    David. Your warning shots make me feel that I should grab few bottles of whisky 🥃 go back to bed and snooze my way through the day even though there’s a hot Indian summer outside.!! Seriously , we (ie the world’s population) are facing a dire situation which will impact on my grandsons far more than on me —— or you. When you say ‘Agriculture’ I’m assuming that you are including livestock. The greenhouse gas emissions from the planet’s animal life must be enormous and that’s whether or not they are raised for their meat .Also, to take your point, such vast amounts of money are tied into food production , it’s hard to see if any measures at all, however well intentioned, , will enable us to eradicate the decline of life in its widest sense. Time to grab that whisky bottle I think 🤔. Cheers.

  20. John Tulloch

    Is there going to be a remake of “Dad’s Army”? Only, a number of contributors seem to be vying for the part of Private Fraser: “Wur do-oO-MM-ED!” LOL 🙂

    • David Spence

      ‘ You stupid Boy, Pike…….sorry, John ‘ lol

  21. David Spence

    I take your points Haydn and Ian, but according to predicted human population expansion, it is estimated the global population will be around 9 billion by the year 2050?

    Other dynamics affecting population growth, as you know, is requiring more land not only for agriculture but for accommodation and expanded space for for other amenities related.

    Not doubt, I think, there may come a critical point where demand for the expansion of the population, not including technological advancement, will determine how we live and finding a balance between our own demands to this of the natural world and other life?

    The driving force for this expansion is predominantly based on economics and technological advances, and as long as this is the precedent, this could bring into conflict what we want and what nature will will allow?

    In the food chain, I suspect we will become more use to ‘ processed food ‘ as technological progress will find better ways of growing alternative foods, whether biologically or chemically, as an answer to keep a balance between our demands and this of a coexisting relationship with the natural laws which govern life itself, including humans.

  22. Haydn Gear

    You are quite right John, there are people who seem to be dominating these columns and I fear that I am a guilty one —— as well as the others. Perhaps I should take a break and ease off. The trouble is, there are interesting and important problems out there which should be aired rather than be allowed to fester. Maybe a bit more humour would help to make the rough stuff a little more palatable. So, step forward anyone of a Dad’s Army disposition !! How about you John ?

  23. Ian Tinkler

    Sadly my sense of humour is a little lacking here! £10 million plus SCT funds gone. 150 meter high windmills on 1000s of tons of concrete bases all over Shetland. All of this for what? The delusional idea that such a project will save the planet. VE is and always has been a money making project under the guise of the “Green Idyle”. The advocates being the usual shetland suspects, utterly unqualified in scientific justification and reason, highly qualified in political posturing and self-interest. No, there is nothing here of humour. I do believe we are rapidly destroying our planet bit if the findings of ” The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change” are valid, windmills on Shetland are an irrelevancy, which will only increase our problems. Their construction will release vast quantities of CO2; their very function will warm the air around them. It goes a bit beyond Dad,s Army humour, about as funny as Donald Trump’s program of clean coal, Scotland importing fracked gas from the USA and Shetland shipping in wood for burning by deforesting Canada and Eastern Europe!!! It is long past a laughing matter. It is just Green idiocy at its most typical.

    • John Tulloch


      I assume you mean “1000s of tonnes of concrete” per turbine base? Given that a single, typical 1.5MW turbine needs over a thousand tonnes of steel-reinforced concrete (see link), then VE turbines, whose blades will sweep 3 times the area (nearly 3 acres!), at 1.5 times the height, must surely need bases several times bigger than that – perhaps, 3000-5000 tonnes, each?

      The accompanying destruction of the land these machines are sited on is also alarming – here is a quote from the link, again, for the small, 1.5MW machine:

      “The steel tower is anchored in a platform of more than a thousand tons of concrete and steel rebar, 30 to 50 feet across and anywhere from 6 to 30 feet deep. Shafts are sometimes driven down farther to help anchor it. Mountain tops must be blasted to create a level area of at least 3 acres.”

  24. Donnie Morrison

    While I rarely contribute to the chattering classes in comments Shetland Times – the idea that anything connected with the abomination that is Viking Energy, can be treated with humour deserves a reply.
    How can having to live surrounded by turbines be treated with humour?
    How can the loss of value of the property I built myself be treated with humour?
    What is funny about having your health compromised by Wind Turbine Syndrome which is now recognised by the World Health Organisation?
    In some perverse way what I do find hilarious is the fact that worldwide the wind industry has been able to con governments out of an obscene amount of money in subsidies in the name of ‘Green Energy’.
    Given the limited cerebral ability of most politicians this obviously did not prove too difficult LOL!

  25. Haydn Gear

    Humour is a coping mechanism. If you can laugh 😆 in the face of adversity you become bullet proof. Only the brave and stoical can achieve that. Dwelling on negatives perpetuates negativity. Goodness knows, there are ample supplies of that in these columns.

  26. Peter Hamilton

    £10 million plus SCT funds have not “gone” Ian. Money does not simply disappear. Whatever the total sum, a decent chunk will of course have found its way into the pay packet pockets of some of those with most to gain from the project. However, so long as the cash gets into the hands of the worthist members of the local community, deserving entrepreneurs intent on bettering their community, who could possibly disagree? Try to be more charitable Ian.

    If there was anything whiffy about all this Tavish Scott would have long since ensured it was properly addressed. Just look how fearlessly he locked horns with the powerful vested interests south who were forever conspiring to keep Shetland in its box. Tavish has already clearly stated he is in favour of democratic reform of SCT, just not if it requires him to stand up against anyone local.

  27. John Irvine

    You`re right there Peter, the money hasn`t just gone it`s been squandered!

  28. Peter Hamilton

    Squandered or plundered John? Aren’t the controls on the access to Shetland’s charitable funds so weak that any dedicated self serving group with a plausible plan could arrange over time to help themselves? Viking by name…

    We’ve got to get away from the notion that the funds exist to secure Shetland’s economic future. They exist to ameliorate social disruption resulting from the oil era. Vast infrastructure projects in remote rural communities bring almost random redistributions in wealth and opportunity, drug dependency and a variety of other associated complex social issues and harms. Where is Shetland’s voluntary sector represented on SCT? It ain’t, and it runs scared of complaining.

    These unguarded funds have weakened and distracted local politics in Shetland. No one group is sufficiently powerful to say enough is enough. Where is the voice of those at the margins? Who speaks up for those in greatest need? The oil industry has washed it’s hands long since. The ongoing tolerance of this is pathetic.

  29. Ian Tinkler

    I note with entirely no surprise the MOD is now objecting to Viking Energy turbines due to their inherent jamming and degradation of air defence radars and electronic warfare aircraft and missile trackers recently installed at Saxa. Surely the writing must now be on the wall for this turgid project. Is it not well overdue that the SIC and SCT cut their losses and abandon this expensive nonsense? Perhaps the dark cloud of Russian and Putin’s recent belligerence has a silver lining for Shetland? How very ironic.


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