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Shetland project

Danes to build UK’s biggest onshore wind farm

The turbines will power the UK’s largest and most productive onshore wind farm

SSE Renewables has chosen Danish firm Vestas to supply 103 wind turbines for its Viking project on the Shetland Islands – the biggest onshore wind farm in the UK.

The two partners have pledged to create work for the Scottish supply chain.

Vestas has installed more than 2,000 onshore wind turbines in the UK with a total capacity of more than 4 GW and Viking will be its largest stand-alone onshore wind farm order in Europe to date. 

As part of the contract Vestas will enter into a long-term agreement to service the wind farm when operational, with the ambition to establish a Shetland-based service organisation providing high quality employment opportunities supported by an apprentice programme. 

The Vestas turbine contract award follows the decision in June by project owner and developer SSE Renewables to invest £580 million in the new onshore wind farm in support of its strategy to drive the transition to a zero-carbon future and as part of its commitment to drive forward the UK and Scotland’s green economic recovery from coronavirus.

Viking Wind Farm will harness the wind conditions in central Mainland Shetland to produce almost 2TWh of energy each year – enough to power almost half a million homes annually and reduce carbon emissions by half a million tonnes each year.

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When complete, Viking will be the UK’s largest and most productive onshore wind farm in terms of annual electricity output, playing a crucial role in contributing towards the UK and Scotland’s net zero targets.

The choice of turbine plays a critical role in maximising the amount of renewable energy that Viking will be capable of generating.

Under the turbine order Vestas will provide Viking with a turbine model known for its ability to withstand extreme wind conditions. 

Turbine deliveries and commissioning will begin in the first quarter of 2023 ahead of expected wind farm completion in 2024. 

SSE Renewables is committed to maximising the opportunities for the UK, Scottish and Shetland supply chain through the development of Viking wind farm and will be working closely with the turbine supplier to promote local employment opportunities.

Once installed and operational, Viking Wind Farm is expected to support up to 35 jobs overall across a range of disciplines in the operation and maintenance of the wind farm. 

Paul Cooley, Director of Capital Projects at SSE Renewables, said: “This contract represents another significant milestone for our Viking project.

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“Viking will be the largest onshore wind farm in the UK by output and will bring significant economic opportunities to Shetland and beyond including the ambition by Vestas to establish a Shetland-based service team providing high quality employment and apprentice opportunities.”

Nils de Baar, President of Vestas Northern & Central Europe, said the partnership with SSE Renewables dates back 20 years. The Viking project creates a highly competitive business case for our customer and sends a strong signal for economic growth and green recovery in Shetland, the UK and beyond.”

Construction of Viking will begin this month and over the four-year construction timeline is expected to support around 400 jobs at peak, with many of those expected to be filled by the local workforce in Shetland. 

In addition to Viking, the SSE Group has confirmed investments in Scotland worth billions of pounds in the Shetland Island Link and the Seagreen offshore wind farm. Together these projects will deliver more than 1,000 jobs in construction and hundreds more during operation. 

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