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Wind of change for Shetland oil hub, but who will benefit?

(Context, 1 Mar 2024) As North Sea oil and gas declines, the Shetland Islands are looking to wind power and green hydrogen.

When storms batter Scotland's Shetland Islands, as they frequently do, the force of the winds whipping through its streets and valleys leave you in no doubt that this is Britain's windiest place.

Now islanders are looking to those fierce winds to take the place of the declining offshore oil and gas industry that transformed their economy from the 1970s.

Local energy developer Angus Ward first studied the potential of wind power in the archipelago, 100 miles (160 km) north of the Scottish mainland, using data from the Met Office national weather service as a student in the 1970s.

"There was a lot of wind in Shetland in comparison to other areas. It's the same 50 years later," said Ward, who now directs an energy company called Shetland Aerogenerators, which has operated the five-turbine Burradale Wind Farm since 2000.

There are now half a dozen onshore wind projects around Shetland. The largest is Viking Energy, with 103 turbines due to come online in 2024, which could power almost half a million homes via a new cable built to the Scottish mainland. 

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Context, 1 Mar 2024: Wind of change for Shetland oil hub, but who will benefit?