Shetland’s Viking Wind Farm starts up; grid link next

SSE Renewables announced that the first power has been produced at Viking Wind Farm on Shetland, which will be the UK’s most productive onshore wind farm.

The landmark moment came after the final turbine was installed at the 443MW Viking Wind Farm.

The milestone also came as Shetland gears up to be fully connected to the GB electricity transmission grid for the first time, with the 260km Shetland High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) subsea cable project being delivered separately by SSEN Transmission closing in on full energisation, which is expected later this summer.

“The world-leading onshore wind development has started producing electricity as part of final commissioning,” said SSE Renewables.

“Engineers will continue to progress through commissioning ahead of the wind farm reaching full power and entering commercial operations later in summer 2024, when it is expected to become the UK’s most productive onshore wind farm.

“Once operational Viking Wind Farm will be capable of generating enough electricity to power the equivalent of almost half a million typical British homes annually.”

Construction of the wind farm began in the autumn of 2020 with the last of over 100 turbines being installed at the site in August 2023.

“This latest milestone is another step towards cleaner, more secure, homegrown power for Shetland, Scotland and the UK,” said Heather Donald, SSE Renewables’ Onshore Renewables Development and Construction Director.

“Once again our expert teams have shown what can be achieved in the development, construction and operation of world-class renewable power assets as we look to lead the transition to a net zero future.”

John Scott, SSEN Transmission’s programme director said: “The first flow of power from Shetland to the mainland on the Shetland HVDC link is a key moment for the Shetland community.

“Full energisation, linking Shetland to the GB transmission system for the first time will be crucial in delivering Shetland’s energy security as well as enabling extensive renewable generation development and export.

“A tremendous collective effort from our teams so far, we can now look forward to working through the remaining commissioning phases of the project before it is fully energised later this summer.”

Alongside progress with the Shetland HVDC Link project, work is continuing to connect Shetland’s existing electricity distribution network to the transmission network, connecting Shetland’s homes and businesses to the GB grid for the first time via the new Grid Supply Point being constructed at Gremista near Lerwick.

The Kergord-Gremista 132kV overhead lines and underground cable circuits currently being installed, which are scheduled for completion in 2025, will then connect the HVDC link to the new Gremista Grid Supply Point.

Viking Wind Farm and the Shetland HVDC project both remain on track for completion later this summer.