Clean energy flexibility project rolls out on Orkney

Clean energy flexibility project rolls out on Orkney
ReFLEX car with wind turbine on Orkney (Photo: Colin Keldie)

Energy storage batteries, electric vehicles, smart chargers and smart meters are being made available to residents and businesses on the Scottish island of Orkney as part of a new low carbon project.

The initiative is designed to showcase energy flexibility and pave the way for other regions in the UK to adopt a localised, integrated approach to energy systems.

The services are being provided by ReFLEX Orkney, a à‚£28.5 million energy consortium part funded by UK Research and Innovation through the government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund and match-funded by private investment.

Integrated energy system on Orkney

The project consortium includes the European Marine Energy Centre, which has been based in Orkney for many years, Community Energy Scotland and Heriot-Watt University.

Orkney lies off the north of Scotland and already generates all of its annual electricity demand from renewables.

The project now wants to help the community take full advantage of the renewable energy on the island and demonstrate how to reduce carbon, abate climate change, and protect wellbeing, livelihoods and the ecosystem.

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Technologies like batteries, electric vehicles, smart chargers and smart meters are being made available via lease and other financing to help islanders access clean energy without large upfront costs.

ReFLEX has also introduced new 100% renewable electricity tariffs for Orkney residents and is also creating initiatives around electric buses and the integration of green hydrogen for storage and transport.

ReFLEX Orkney managing director Gareth Davies said: “We are pioneering an integrated, affordable, low-carbon energy system in Orkney which can then be used as a blueprint for other locations.

“A key aim for ReFLEX is to encourage early adoption of these technologies, as well as inspiring community participation in the drive to decarbonise Orkney.

He said that by becoming a member of ReFLEX, “the community can help us shape it and demonstrate how communities can create smart local energy systems”.

“In return we will help the community access affordable low carbon technologies and services, and better understand and manage their energy use.

“This is very timely as the UK government has just announced an end of the sale of diesel and petrol cars by 2030 as part of an ambitious plan for green industrial revolution, and yet again Orkney is ahead of the curve, ready to demonstrate to the nation how it can be done.”

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