Project lead: Rousay, Egilsay and Wyre Development Trust and Heat Smart Orkney

Project partners: Community Energy Scotland, VCharge

Area: Orkney

Main technology: Creation of a new fuel source

Grant awarded: £954,950

The Heat Smart Orkney project is driven by providing linking curtailed energy from community turbines to local fuel poverty. The system is using excess electricity from community-owned turbines to feed a smart energy system, providing affordable heat in people’s homes.

Smart quantum heaters will be installed in community members’ houses as a secondary heating system, saving costs for individual householders. The heaters are linked by a smart VCharge system, building on the ACCESS project seen in Mull.

What makes this project innovative?

Orkney is known for its harsh climate and remote location – but every windy cloud has a silver lining. There is now no additional grid capacity on most of the archipelago, meaning the community turbines are regularly turned off. This project has found a way to link this wasted energy resource to the stark levels of fuel poverty across the islands, which, if successful, will offer a replicable and commercial model to be rolled out across Scotland.

Rather than watching the community turbine be turned off when the wind picks up, the community will be able to watch it continue to turn, knowing that local people are receiving cheap, green heat.