SSE Renewables has committed to build the £580m, 443 MW Viking wind farm on Shetland, Scotland.
It announced a final investment decision on the remote island project today and said construction of the 103-turbine wind farm will start late summer with commissioning expected in early 2024.
SSE said it is now awaiting the outcome of a consultation on regulator Ofgem’s minded-to position to approve a 600 MW transmission connection from Shetland to the British mainland, expected in July.
Final approval of the line was conditional on SSE taking a final investment decision on the wind farm. “The transmission connection is critical for Viking wind farm to proceed,” added SSE.
When complete, Viking wind farm will be the UK’s largest onshore project in terms of annual electricity output, the utility said.
The company said the project will support the island’s, Scottish and wider UK supply chains during delivery, creating around 400 jobs at peak construction, with a further 35 full-time local operation and maintenance jobs throughout its life.
SSE Renewables managing director Jim Smith said: “Viking Wind Farm will help kickstart the green economic recovery, bringing much needed low carbon investment to Shetland.
“This project will bring benefits threefold for the island; harnessing its renewable potential, securing its electricity supplies for the long term, and helping decarbonise electricity.
“After more than a decade working closely with the community we are delighted to reach this stage and be playing our part in Shetland’s net zero future.”
Scottish Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse added the project is a “great symbol for the green recovery”
“This decision is of sufficient scale to act as the trigger to unlock the much anticipated major investment in a high voltage connection from Shetland to mainland Scotland, subject to a final decision by Ofgem which we expect shortly,” he said.
“It is essential that the community of Shetland benefits from this project and we look forward to further news of contracts being awarded to local businesses, as well as Scotland as a whole, during the construction phase.”
SSE Renewables meanwhile recorded an adjusted operating profit of £567m in the 12 months end March, up from £456m the previous year.
The spike was mainly due to an increase in output of electricity due to favourable weather conditions and a new uptick in generation capacity, driven largely by the Beatrice offshore projects in Scotland. Total green generation was 10.7 gigawatt-hours for the year, up from 9.7 GWh.