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£28.5million to Create a ‘Smart Energy Island’

wind turbine HatstonThe European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) based in Orkney is the lead agency in a multi-partner £28.5m project which includes Orkney Islands Council. £14.3 million is UK Government funding.

Other partners in the ReFLEX Orkney project are: Solo EnergyAquateraCommunity Energy ScotlandHeriot-Watt University and Doosan Babcock.

The ReFLEX Orkney (Responsive Flexibility) project aims to create a ‘smart energy island’ – developing a ground-breaking ‘virtual energy system’ in Orkney which will monitor generation, grid constraint and energy demand.  This ‘smart energy system’ will manage the supply and demand of energy.

It’s all about  ‘flexible energy balancing technologies’ with Solo Energy implementing their FlexiGrid software platform enabling smart monitoring and control of the flexible technologies to charge during periods of peak local renewable generation, and release stored energy during times of peak demand.

Mark Hamilton from Solo Energy said:

“Orkney has unique energy challenges that make the island the perfect place to demonstrate this cutting edge new technology. With more renewable generation than the local grid can use, and a constrained connection to the mainland, new battery and software can help balance the gird locally.

Mark Hamilton SOLO

Mark Hamilton SOLO Energy Ltd

“The ReFLEX Orkney project will be a world-leading example of how energy storage and flexible demand can enable a full transition to a low-cost 100% renewable future by solving the intermittency problem.

“We can have all the wind and solar farms we want but unless we have the means to store and balance renewables we will never fully wean ourselves off fossil-fuels and get to the root of the climate change problem.

“Orkney is a perfect location to demonstrate how high levels of local renewable generation combined with intelligent flexible demand can deliver full energy autonomy and lower consumer energy bills.”

The aim is to maximise the  use of locally generated green energy and pave the way towards a carbon neutral future. The flexigrid technologies will be available through ‘leasing type finance.’

Possibilities include:

  • 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.

The project is funded by the UK Government through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

Councillor James Stockan, Leader of Orkney Islands Council said:

James Stockan“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.”

sci fest hydrogen van

Lord Duncan of Springbank,  Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in both the UK Scotland Office and the Northern Ireland Office said:

“Scotland is at the forefront of smart energy which is key to the UK Government’s modern Industrial Strategy. With £14.3 million of UK Government funding going to the ReFLEX project in Orkney, we are helping to establish the Scottish Islands as an energy powerhouse.”

Reporter: Fiona Grahame

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