Local Companies Invest in North Isles Wind Farm Project

Eighteen companies in Shetland have joined together to start development work on a wind farm project in Yell and Unst.

Firms in engineering, transport, building, retail, farming and crofting, fishing and fish farming are among the initial investors in Energy Isles Ltd.

The new company will shortly begin scoping work for a potential 150-200MW scheme in the North Isles.

No sites have yet been identified and no choices have so far been made about the size and number of turbines.

But community support for a wind farm project is strong in Yell and Unst and five of the 18 original investing companies are based in the North Isles.

“A wind farm project of this scale will bring jobs, money and community benefit which are sorely needed in Unst and Yell,” said Energy Isles investor and Uyeasound crofter Derek Jamieson.

“When the interconnector cable links Shetland to the national electricity grid, it is clear that there will be plenty of headroom on it for us to export additional clean energy from a wind farm in the North Isles.

“We can either sit back and let outside companies come in and provide that – they are already looking here – or we can seize the initiative and do it ourselves. We have chosen to start the ball rolling ourselves.”

Yell investor Frank Odie said: “We all know that Shetland gets more than its fair share of wind – which makes this the best place to generate clean energy from the wind.

“There’s a lot of support for renewable energy in the North Isles and I have no doubt that a well-sited wind farm in Yell/Unst equipped with modern turbines will be a solid investment.

“It would provide an input to the economy in the form of jobs and community benefit, which could help address the problems of depopulation, ageing housing stock and lack of adequate investment that the islands face.”

Another investor is John Henderson, owner of marine engineering firm Ocean Kinetics, who said that it was vital for Shetland companies to become directly involved in renewable energy in the isles.

“The skills are all here – in development, in engineering and in technical knowledge and understanding,” he said.

“Shetland’s economy is booming at the moment, but a quick glance at our history will tell you how fragile island economies are, how prone they are to peaks and troughs in fishing and oil.

“It’s really important that we open the door to renewable energy in Shetland and then build and support it for the benefit of people living here.”

Any proposed development by Energy Isles would depend on the interconnector cable that is to be built for the Viking Energy wind farm later this decade.