A new local energy company, the launch of a special electricity tariff and more electric vehicles could all be on the horizon for Orkney in 2020, after the ReFLEX Orkney project officially progressed to its second stage.
The ground-breaking scheme’s first phase has been approved by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), with the focus now moving from feasibility studies to demonstration.
ReFLEX Orkney aims to help Orkney maximise the potential of its renewable energy production by using excess energy created here and reducing the reliance on electricity imported from the UK mainland.
Work is already underway to set up a new local energy company which will be able to advise local consumers and businesses on their energy needs. Affordable leasing options for new domestic and commercial batteries, electric vehicles and charging points will also be available.
The Orkney energy tariff will be tailored to the needs of ReFLEX’s innovative integrated energy system, which will use advanced software to balance demand and supply
The pioneering project is funded by UKRI and led locally by the European Marine Energy Centre, along with consortium partners Aquatera, Solo Energy, Community Energy Scotland, Heriot-Watt University and Orkney Islands Council, as well as multi-national energy company Doosan Babcock.
Rob Saunders, Challenge Director, Prospering from the Energy Revolution, UK Research and Innovation said:
“ReFLEX Orkney is a key component of the PFER Challenge and is showcasing how intelligent local energy systems of the future can bring about real benefits for users. It is therefore testament to the hard work and innovation amongst the ReFLEX team that they have successfully passed this first stage review.
"Clean energy, delivered across smart and efficient local networks will play a major role in achieving the net zero goals of 2050. The successful progress of demonstration projects like ReFLEX highlight the opportunities that are available to the UK through this kind of innovation. We look forward to working with ReFLEX on the next stage of their project.”
On behalf of the ReFLEX Orkney project partners, Gareth Davies, Aquatera Managing Director, said:
“Over the last nine months, the ReFLEX project partners have been hard at work assessing the feasibility of the project, developing the service offerings, and working out how best to deliver a progressive energy system within an out of date regulatory framework.
“The consumer services under development will be rolled out later in 2020 and are expected to include attractive and more affordable electricity tariffs, access to a wide range of EVs and other decarbonised energy technologies. It is also planned to deliver a range of rental or leasing options to try and make the adoption of such energy solutions as easy and affordable as possible for everyone.
“ReFLEX Orkney is a world first and recognises the key role Orkney has played in UK energy over the last half a century from oil and gas through to wave and tidal energy. Once demonstrated and proven in Orkney, it is expected that the model can then be replicated in other areas across the UK and internationally – helping to create more flexible and renewable-friendly energy systems.”
The Promoting Orkney project has been part financed by the Scottish Government and the European Community Orkney LEADER 2014-2020