Wind Turbine Blades Stored For The Viking Wind Farm

Final turbine installed on UK’s ‘most productive’ onshore wind farm

Image credit: Alanmorris Shutterstock

The final turbine has been installed at the 443MW Viking Wind Farm in Shetland – the “most productive” onshore wind farm in the UK.

Just over three years since breaking ground on the project and six months since turbine installation commenced, SSE Renewables confirmed last week that the installation of the wind farm’s 103rd and final 4.3MW wind turbine had been completed.

The final turbine installation was completed well ahead of schedule, as the original installation programme had been due to be completed 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 be capable of generating up to 1.8TWh of renewable electricity annually – enough to power almost half a million typical British homes.

Ironically, windy conditions during construction proved to be one of the biggest challenges – with wind speeds over 78mph making it difficult to install the turbines.

Government policies over the last decade have mostly hampered the roll-out of onshore wind power in the UK. In 2016 then-Prime Minister David Cameron instituted an effective ban on the infrastructure after pressure from Conservative MPs, who worried about the impact of wind turbine damage on rural communities.

The government eventually U-turned on the policy last December and launched a consultation on how new onshore wind facilities could begin construction as long as there is sufficient support from the local community.

SSE Renewables’ 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.”

Last week, EDF Renewables UK sought responses to a consultation on building a major 400MW onshore wind farm in the Scottish Borders.

A recent report warned that the UK is at risk of falling behind other countries in the global race to reach net zero. This slowdown was attributed to “low levels of expected investment”, with tax incentives from the US and EU also increasing competition.

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