Orkney £28.5m energy system to create ‘smart energy island’

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energy system, Orkney,

The ReFLEX (Responsive Flexibility) Orkney project, worth £28.5m, has been launched to digitally link local electricity, transport, and heat networks into one controllable energy system

The project aims to create a ‘smart energy island’, demonstrating the energy system of the future, which will reduce and eventually eliminate the need for fossil fuels.

The project is funded by UKRI through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, and Heriot-Watt University is the only academic partner involved in the first phase.

Principal investigator at Heriot-Watt University, Professor David Flynn, said: “The only way to deliver an affordable, resilient and sustainable energy service to society is through an integrated whole systems approach.

“To understand the complexities across our critical infrastructure and to deliver demonstrable solutions, such research must happen in communities. The Orkney community is a global leader in energy innovation and this project has the potential to deliver a global impact to our low carbon objectives and also provide UK companies and communities with first mover advantage.”

Led by the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), the ReFLEX Orkney project brings together a consortium of Orkney-based partners – Solo EnergyAquateraCommunity Energy ScotlandOrkney Islands Council and Heriot-Watt – as well as multi-national energy company Doosan Babcock.

Electricity, transport and heat powered by local renewable energy generation, will be coupled with flexible energy demand balancing the intermittency of renewables.

Solo Energy will implement 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.

Once demonstrated and proven in Orkney, it is expected that the VES model and associated integrated energy system supply framework will be replicated in other areas across the UK and.

Professor Edward Owens, director of Heriot-Watt’s Energy Academy, said: “ReFLEX is another example of the critical mass Heriot-Watt has, in multidisciplinary research aligned to the whole system energy agenda.

“Expertise from across our research institutes and learning from our strategic national and global research programs in energy system integration, will support ReFLEX in delivering on its ambitious objectives.”

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