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United Kingdom

Shetland's Viking project approved

UK: Three Scottish judges have ruled that the 370MW Viking Energy wind project on the Shetland Islands can go ahead, overturning a judgement stating the previous consent had not followed due process.

The Viking project could soon be built on the Shetland Islands
The Viking project could soon be built on the Shetland Islands

There had been concerns that a previous ruling in October could set a precedent that would have hit other projects going through the consenting process.

In October, a judge had said the Scottish government should not have granted consent until the project had been issued with an electricity generating licence. Standard practice in the UK usually sees a project being approved before a generating license is granted.

This latest decision overturns the judgement. It also dismisses a ruling that the impact on migratory birds had not been properly taken into account, and opens the way for the project to progress.

The 103-turbine Viking project on the Sheland Islands, north of Scotland, was originally approved by the Scottish government in April 2012.

The Viking Energy Partnership is a 50-50 joint venture between utility SSE and Viking Energy. The latter is 90% owned by the Shetland Charitable Trust (SCT), an organisation set up on behalf of the local community.

Consistent winds in the area mean the project could expect a load factor of up to 50%, making it the most productive development in Europe.

American business tycoon Donald Trump had also previously tried to stop the construction of the Viking project. But it was ruled he had no interest in the case so was unable to block an appeal.

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