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ReFLEX Orkney is pioneering an integrated, affordable, low-carbon energy system for the future.

ReFLEX (Responsive Flexibility) Orkney is a £28.5 million project aiming to create an integrated energy system (IES) in Orkney, Scotland.

Funded by UKRI through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, the project is led by the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) with cross-sector partners including Aquatera, SMS, Community Energy Scotland, Heriot-Watt University and Orkney Islands Council.

The project will interlink local electricity, transport and heat networks into one controllable, overarching system, digitally connecting distributed and variable renewable generation to flexible demand.

Flexible energy technologies

At the heart of the project is the demonstration of flexibility (the ability to modify electricity generation and consumption patterns in response to variability) using technologies like battery storage, electric vehicles, smart chargers and smart meters.

ReFLEX has also introduced a new local energy tariff for Orkney residents. Alongside the IES control platform, FlexiGrid, the tariff links these technologies together and creates an integrated system.

These technologies are being offered to local households and businesses through leases and other financing, which means that local participants avoid large upfront costs and, in turn, help further the ReFLEX mission to decarbonise Orkney.

The project is also initiating larger-scale and community-focused initiatives such as electric buses, a local electric car club and the integration of green hydrogen for storage and transport.

Benefits of a localised integrated energy system

The integrated energy system delivered by ReFLEX will help to:

  • maximise the potential of Orkney's significant renewable generation capabilities by storing more electricity,
  • ensure higher quality and more affordable energy services,
  • lower the county’s carbon footprint by decreasing reliance on imported carbon-intensive energy from the UK mainland.

Local project = global impact

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

This would mean long-term export opportunities for the ReFLEX project partners and would help create more flexible and renewable-based energy systems across the globe.

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