Orkney’s Energy Revolution: Leading The Way To A Low Carbon Future

The Orkney Islands have been leading the way in transitioning to renewable energy generation for decades. Orkney has a long-standing heritage as a national location for testing modern wind turbine technology, is home to the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) – the world’s leading wave and tidal energy demonstration facility, and is pioneering the development of a green hydrogen economy. Today, Orkney generates over 100% of its electricity demand from renewables (mostly wind and solar) and has done since 2013.

Orkney’s community are at the heart of this energy revolution, with 10% of homes on Orkney having microgeneration (compared to 2.8% UK average) and 375% more electric vehicles per home than the UK average.

Building on this, the ReFLEX Orkney demonstration project was launched in April 2019 to create a first-of-its-kind integrated energy system across Orkney, interlinking local electricity, transport and heat networks into one controllable, overarching system. The project aims to decarbonise Orkney’s energy system and increase the use of local renewable generation through the roll out of domestic and commercial batteries, up to 600 electric vehicles in Orkney and the introduction of a competitive local renewable electricity tariff.

Following successful demonstration in Orkney, it is intended that ReFLEX be replicated across other islands around the globe. Funded by the UKRI through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, the project is being led by EMEC and includes Solo Energy, Aquatera, Doosan Babcock, Community Energy Scotland, Heriot-Watt University, and Orkney Islands Council.

Speakers

Mark Hamilton

Chief Executive Officer, Solo Energy

100%-renewable energy visionary and thought leader. Generation-ahead thinker passionately driven by the belief that the world will transition from fossil fuels to sustainable energy within our lifetime.

Co-founder of Solo Energy where we are merging blockchain and our advanced energy storage platform to create the Virtual Power Plant of the future.

Solo deploys and aggregates distributed batteries and electric vehicles in homes and businesses to store energy at times of peak renewable generation. We're creating a shared energy economy where renewable energy is shared through peer-to-peer (P2P) energy trading.

Mark Hamilton

Chief Executive Officer, Solo Energy

Gareth Davies

Managing Director, Solo Energy

Dr Gareth Davies has worked as an environmental consultant for over 20 years. He trained initially as a marine biologist, obtaining his doctorate in deep sea biology. He has since completed over 350 projects and has particularly extensive experience in environmental impact assessment (EIA), best practicable environmental option (BPEO) studies, quantitative risk assessment, environmental surveys, environmental management systems development, waste management studies, stakeholder consultation, workshop organisation and training for the renewable energy, oil and gas and other industrial sectors. He has worked in many areas of the world including the Caspian Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, Russia, North America, South America and numerous island groups.
Gareth Davies

Managing Director, Solo Energy

Adele Lidderdale

Hydrogen Project Officer, at Orkney Islands Council

Project Officer - Hydrogen, primary contact within Orkney Islands council relating to hydrogen. Primarily liaising with the partners to complete the deliverables regarding the Surf'n'Turf and BIG HIT projects here in Orkney.
Adele Lidderdale

Hydrogen Project Officer, at Orkney Islands Council

Richy Ainsworth

Hydrogen Project Manager, at EMEC

Richy began working at EMEC in 2018, having graduated with an MSc in Marine Renewable Energy from the International Centre for Island Technology (ICIT). As EMEC’s Hydrogen Project Specialist, Richy is responsible for managing a range of EMEC Hydrogen projects and works closely with the hydrogen development team focused on future hydrogen infrastructure and use. Prior to moving to Orkney, he studied MEng Mechanical Engineering at Strathclyde University, and while studying worked as a science communicator at Glasgow Science Centre. Following graduation, Richard moved to New Zealand working in operations and maintenance in the ski industry, later returning to the UK and working as an Aircraft Mechanic for British Airways until 2017.
Richy Ainsworth

Hydrogen Project Manager, at EMEC

Partner

European Marine Energy Centre

Established in 2003, The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) Ltd is the first and only centre of its kind in the world to provide developers of both wave and tidal energy converters – technologies that generate electricity by harnessing the power of waves and tidal streams – with purpose-built, accredited open-sea testing facilities.

Orkney is an ideal base for us with its excellent oceanic wave regime, strong tidal currents, grid connection, sheltered harbour facilities and the renewable, maritime and environmental expertise that exists within the local community.

With 13 grid-connected test berths, there have been more marine energy converters deployed at EMEC than at any other single site in the world, with developers attracted from around the globe to prove what is achievable in some of the harshest marine environments.

Solo Energy

At Solo we believe the age of fossil fuels is dead, and we want to start making the transition to 100% renewables happen as quickly as possible, like now.

Solo are building the power plant of the future – the Virtual Power Plant. The building blocks of a Virtual Power Plant are batteries. Unlike a conventional power plant, our Virtual Power Plant is not a large industrial plant in one single location, but a connected system of distributed batteries and Electric Vehicles in homes and businesses across the grid. We digitally link these assets to act as an intelligent system of flexible demand and supply which help balance the intermittency of renewable generation.

Aquatera

Operating globally from a hub in Orkney, off the north coast of Scotland, Aquatera provides environmental expertise and operational support for offshore, coastal and land-based activities. Our clients range from multinational corporations and national governments to individuals and community groups and we operate in more than 30 countries.

We take a multi-disciplinary approach to projects, supporting clients from planning right through to delivery and decommissioning. Our flexible business model, which draws on a wide network of associates and delivery partners, enables us to respond to clients’ needs whoever and wherever they are.