Opponents of large wind farm developments in Shetland have said they are not surprised permission to increase the turbine height for the planned Viking Energy development was granted by Scottish ministers.
Last week, Scottish ministers gave the developer permission to increase the size of the turbines it wishes to use for the 450 megawatt development from 145 metres to 155 metres.
Should Viking Energy win subsidy funding under the Contracts for Difference (CfD) mechanism and a £730 million subsea cable gets the final go-ahead, construction of the wind farm could begin as early as next year.
Sustainable Shetland Frank Hay chairman said: “It comes as no surprise that Scottish Ministers have approved the Viking Energy wind farm variation application, given the Scottish Government obsession with wind power as a major energy source, in spite of its obvious drawbacks.
“Once the SIC raised no objection it was always highly likely that it would be approved.”
He added: “As usual, little attention has been paid to the concerns of those local people who stand to be most affected by this.
“However, addressing the long list of conditions attached to the consent could prove to be very expensive for Viking Energy and reduce the potential profitability of the wind farm.
“It remains to be seen if the SIC planning department has the resources to police the construction phase of the wind farm effectively, if it gets to that stage. If not, who will pay for any extra resources required?
“Making a winning bid in the CfD auction remains a challenge for Viking given the limited budget available and the obvious competition from offshore projects in the auction.”