Scottish contractor RJ McLeod to build Viking wind farm

Scottish civil engineering contractor RJ McLeod has been awarded the main contract to build SSE Renewables’ 103-turbine Viking Wind Farm in Shetland, one of the largest contracts of this type ever awarded in Scotland.

The appointment follows SSE Renewables’ decision last month to invest £580 million in the 443MW onshore wind farm as part of its commitment to drive forward the UK’s green economic recovery from coronavirus.

As part of its contract, RJ McLeod’s team will build the network of access tracks through the wind farm site as well as the new Sandwater road, construction compounds, and the bases and crane pads for the turbines.

The leading Scottish civil engineering contractor will bring local opportunities to Shetland, ranging from direct employment to plant hire, material supply and more to help support their work.

SSE Renewables Director of Development Mike Seaton said:

“SSE Renewables is delighted to announce RJ McLeod as the civil contractor for our Viking Wind Farm. We have a strong track record of delivering onshore wind farms successfully together.

“SSE Renewables and RJ McLeod are committed to maximising opportunities for the local, Shetland, and wider Scottish supply chain from Viking’s construction and to creating significant employment opportunities while we build this excellent flagship onshore wind project.”

The Viking Wind Farm is expected to support around 400 jobs at peak construction with many of those expected to be filled by the local workforce in Shetland. During the project’s operational lifetime of around 25 years, the project is estimated to support 35 local jobs annually. Beyond supporting direct jobs associated with the wind farm, Viking is expected to bring significant socio-economic benefits to Shetland, including a 25-year community fund.

RJ McLeod joint managing director Bruce Clark said:

“We are very pleased to secure this high-profile contract. RJ McLeod has a wealth of experience of constructing wind farms and contracting successfully for SSE Renewables. We are used to working in remote locations, including historic experience of delivering projects in Shetland.

“As a business, we’re committed to approaching this contract in a way which seeks to maximise the opportunities for Shetland businesses.”

Viking Wind Farm will be the UK’s largest onshore wind farm in terms of annual electricity output, estimated to reach almost 1.9 terawatt-hours a year. It is wholly owned by SSE Renewables, having been developed with community partnership Viking Energy Shetland.

Construction of the project is programmed to begin in August and to be completed in 2024.