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Final turbine installed at Viking Wind Farm in Shetland

18 Aug 2023

– Shetland wind farm will be the UK’s most productive onshore wind farm when complete next year –

Just over three years since breaking ground on the project, SSE Renewables is today celebrating the successful installation of the final turbine at what will be the UK’s most productive onshore wind farm when complete, the 443MW Viking Wind Farm in Shetland.

Yesterday evening expert technicians working at the Viking site in the Shetland Islands successfully completed the installation of the wind farm’s 103rd and final Vestas V117 4.3MW wind turbine in the northeast sector of the wind farm.

Turbine installation commenced in February 2023 and in just over six months the team has safely and successfully installed all 103 turbines on site.

Over the last month, the project has progressed at an impressive pace. The final turbine installation was completed well ahead of schedule, as the original installation programme had been due to complete in autumn 2023.

The project remains on track for completion in summer 2024, with commissioning works set to continue over the next year.  When fully operational, Viking’s 103 Vestas turbines will operate in 4.3MW power mode and comprise 443MW of installed wind-powered capacity, capable of generating up to 1.8TWh of renewable electricity annually – enough to power almost half a million typical British homes, including every home in Shetland*. This means Viking Wind Farm will be the UK’s most productive onshore wind farm in terms of annual electricity output when complete^.

Installation of the final wind turbine is yet another milestone reached in the Viking Wind Farm project. It follows on from the completion of the turbine component delivery campaign which saw over 280 convoys deliver over 1,000 turbine components to the remote site over a six-month spell.

Reaching this milestone has seen the project battle some very challenging weather conditions, from frequent heavy rain and the biggest snow storm to hit Shetland in over 20 years, to rolling fog which drastically reduced visibility across the site. However, the biggest challenge is the wind, with speeds often reaching over 78mph. The team worked to track every weather window over the last six months, allowing them to continue to make significant progress, whilst safely lifting each component in place.

SSE Renewables’ Onshore Renewables Development and Construction Director, Heather Donald, said:

“We’re reaching the point in the Viking Wind Farm project where we are celebrating key milestones which just shows the good progress we are making. The weather in Shetland has been challenging at times so achieving the installation of the final turbine ahead of schedule is testament to the hard work and commitment of those involved.

“Reaching this landmark milestone underlines our strategy to lead the transition to a net zero future through the world-class development, construction and operation of renewable power assets. Viking will be capable of producing enough energy to power the equivalent of almost half a million homes including every home in Shetland and is on course for completion in 2024.”

Anne Séméria, Onshore Construction Director, UK & Ireland for Vestas, said:

“The team has worked hard over the past six months to ensure the turbines are built safely and to a high quality. It has been a real team effort to optimize our installation plans and take advantage of the good weather. We would like to thank everyone involved for their passion, commitment and high standards and we look forward to Viking Wind Farm being fully operational next year as it will play a crucial role in contributing towards achieving the UK and Scotland’s net zero targets.”

The success of the Viking project to date would not have been possible without the support of Shetland contractors and suppliers, who have worked hand in hand with the SSE Renewables, principal contractor RJ Macleod, and Vestas teams. This relationship will continue as they continue to play a key part in wind farm commissioning. The project is supporting the islands’, Scottish and wider UK supply chains during delivery, creating around 400 jobs at peak construction. Additionally, turbine supplier Vestas is now also awarding contracts and recruiting long-term local operations and maintenance teams, including apprentices.

*475,099 homes powered per annum based on annual GB average domestic household consumption base of 3.781MWh published by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) as of November 2018, and projected total generation output by Viking Wind Farm of 1,796.35 GWh per annum. Equivalent every home in Shetland claim based on 10,235 recorded households in Shetland, published in Shetland in Statistics 2017 by Shetland Islands Council, 2018.

^ Most productive UK onshore wind farm claim based on projected total generation output by Viking Wind Farm of 1.8TWh per annum and a comparison with the leading UK operational and in construction wind farms. Projected total generation output by Viking Wind Farm of 1.8TWh per annum confirmed in Environmental Impact Assessment Report for the wind farm, published here, and validated by both Shetland Islands Council and Scottish Government.