16 Sep 2019
Orkney has been at the forefront of Scotland’s renewable energy revolution. Hundreds of small wind turbines dot the treeless landscapes, generating clean energy throughout this beautiful, windswept archipelago off the Caithness coast, where the North Atlantic meets the North Sea.
So much energy is being generated that the islands’ electricity grid is at full capacity and electric vehicles are a familiar sight on the islands’ roads network. Meanwhile, the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC)’s test facilities attract wave and tidal energy pioneers from across the world to Orkney.
Looking ahead, the recently launched ReFLEX Orkney (Responsive Flexibility) project is aiming to create an integrated energy system that monitors energy generation, grid constraint, energy demand and uses smart technologies to manage the balance between energy supply and demand. The ReFLEX project wants to maximise the use of locally generated green energy leading to a carbon-neutral Orkney.
Against this background of ongoing collaboration and innovation, Home Energy Scotland has this summer been partnering Orkney Islands Council (OIC) in a survey campaign which is attempting to improve energy efficiency, reduce fuel poverty and strengthen Orkney’s leading role in renewable and sustainable energy.
Luke Fraser, Team Leader (Policy & Planning) at the council says:
“Our energy efficiency survey, reaching every home in Orkney, will help OIC and our partners better understand current home energy efficiency standards. It will also inform householders on various projects and partners operating here, such as Home Energy Scotland’s specialist renewables advice service.
“We will analyse the survey results to measure Orkney’s levels of fuel poverty, uptake of renewables and energy efficiency technologies, and measure the perception of energy efficiency by local householders. It will also help us inform projects that are currently being run or developed by partners.”
Michael Cromby, Home Energy Scotland’s home energy specialist in Orkney, adds:
“Home Energy Scotland is delighted to be working with Orkney Islands Council on their campaign. It has been a massive opportunity to improve local awareness of our home renewables advice service as over 11,000 of our postcards have dropped through letterboxes along with the surveys this summer.
“We expect the campaign to increase interest in home renewables from local householders, leading to more uptake and more potential uses for the green energy generated here. This in turn will help the council and other partners with their aims of improving energy efficiency, reducing carbon emissions and managing energy supply and demand in the islands. Exciting times!”
The last word on this will be with Orcadians. They have sailed the world’s oceans for centuries, notably forging strong, historic links in Canada with the world-famous Hudson’s Bay Company. The rest of the world is now looking to see where Orkney’s sustainable energy journey takes them and what it can learn from it. Home Energy Scotland is proud to be playing a small part.