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Thu May 19 2022

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Orkney Council backs development of ‘smart energy island'

3 Jun 19 Orkney Islands Council has confirmed support for a project to demonstrate the application of a series of renewal technologies with the ultimate aim of eliminating the need for fossil fuels.

image by Solo Energy
image by Solo Energy

The Reflex Orkney (Responsive Flexibility) project is designed to create a ‘smart energy island'. Orkney Islands Council is to support the development of the multi-partner £28.5m project which could maximise the potential for renewable energy generation in Orkney – and ultimately eliminate the need for fossil fuels. The project is funded by the UK Government through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

The plan in creating a ‘smart energy island’  is to develop 'virtual energy system' in Orkney that will monitor generation, grid constraint and energy demand and then use ‘smart’ control of energy technologies to manage and improve the supply-demand balance. This will maximise use of locally generated green energy and pave the way towards a carbon neutral future.

Technologies that might be rolled-out as part of the project include domestic batteries for homes, larger batteries for businesses and public buildings, vehicle to grid chargers, electric vehicles, hydrogen fuel cells and smart heating systems. The project was announced last month (link opens in new tab).

The project, which will be led by the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), will bring together a number of locally based partners - OIC, Aquatera, Solo Energy, and Community Energy Scotland - as well as, Heriot Watt University and Doosan Babcock.

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If successful, the ambitious three-year project could be replicated across other areas in the UK and internationally, said the council. Councillor James Stockan, leader of Orkney Islands Council, said: “Orkney Islands Council is delighted to be involved in this project and we are looking forward to working with our key partners to develop the proposals.

“The project offers great opportunities for Orkney in terms of economic development as well as delivering demonstration and development of a state-of-the-art energy system, which could save money and further cement Orkney’s position at the vanguard of innovative energy solutions.”

At the heart of the project is the demonstration of flexible energy balancing technologies. The scheme aims to deploy:

  • up to 500 domestic batteries;
  • up to 100 business and large-scale batteries;
  • up to 200 vehicle-to-grid (V2G) chargers;
  • up to 600 new electrical vehicles (EVs);
  • an island community-powered electric bus and e-bike integrated transport system;
  • up to 100 flexible heating systems; and
  • a Doosan industrial-scale hydrogen fuel cell.

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