A consortium of energy and technology companies is to deploy a virtual energy system in Orkney, aiming to establish the “energy system of the future” on the isles.

The project, dubbed ReFLEX Orkney, is to “digitally link” distributed and intermittent renewable power to flexible demand, incorporating local generation, transport and heat networks into a single, overarching system.

As many as 500 domestic batteries, 100 C&I and large-scale batteries, 200 vehicle-to-grid chargers and 600 new electric vehicles will be introduced to the isles, alongside an electric bus and e-bike transport system.

Up to 100 flexible heating systems and an industrial-scale hydrogen fuel cell, supplied by Doosan, will also be installed.

Solo Energy’s FlexiGrid software platform will enable smart monitoring and control of the technologies, triggering them to charge during peak local renewable generation hours and release when demand is high.

The £28.5 million project is one of four funded by UK Research and Innovation and supported by energy minister Claire Perry, who unveiled the projects earlier today.

“What we are seeing here on Orkney is a test bed for the energy system of the future. These smart systems are a key part of our modern Industrial Strategy and will provide cheaper, greener and more flexible access to energy for everyone,” Perry said.

The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) is leading on the project and Neil Kermode, the firm’s managing director, said it was evidence of the appetite for integrated, local energy systems.

“Orkney has already demonstrated high commitment for local sustainable energy solutions and the county is well on its way to decarbonising each aspect of the energy system.

“The target for Orkney is to have a negative carbon footprint and this pioneering project will build upon the existing local energy system, local infrastructure and local expertise, to accelerate this transition to a fully sustainable and flexible energy system,” he said.

The consortium includes EMEC, Solo Energy, Aquatera, Community Energy Scotland, Heriot-Watt University, Orkney Islands Council and Doosan Babcock.

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