Heat Smart Orkney

HSO – smart community energy

Orkney suffers high levels of fuel poverty, and lost generation and revenue due to grid curtailment, while having some of the highest wind generation capacity. For the islands of Rousay and Eday, an average of >45 % of production (nearly £500k lost revenue combined per annum) when curtailment first started to impede generation. The Heat Smart Orkney (HSO) project (funded by the Scottish Government’s Local Energy Challenge Fund) provides a smart solution by connecting the community owned wind turbines to the heating of local homes.

Rousay, Egilsay and Wyre Development Trust led HSO, with delivery support from Community Energy Scotland. A technology partner developed an aggregator platform to monitor signals from the distribution system operator’s (DSO’s) Active Management System to the turbine and control the demand-side management (DSM) load (264kW of hot water cylinders and storage heaters) to the benefit of the turbine. This required the DSM loads to react fast enough to be relevant to the project’s goals.

The funded project was completed in 2019 however the community will continue to fund the project as it is now starting to show live matching as a business-as-usual activity. It has already fed learnings into two multi-million-pound projects in Orkney, with implications for the rest of the UK.

Over 70 properties benefited from the project. Energy fuels across project properties saw a total drop, due to displacement or efficiency measures, of 4,700 litres of oil; 8,000kg of coal and wood; and 20.4MWh of electricity. However, the benefits went beyond being able to reduce fuel costs and increase generation, including: energy advice; increased sense of ownership of local energy; increased revenue for community projects; employment for 3 isle residents.

A key aim of HSO was to reduce fuel poverty. A rebate compensated homeowners for the additional power used in their home at a higher cost than the alternative provision of heat (oil, coal, etc). Due to its success, the rebate rate was doubled to promote further incentive.

Surf ‘n’ Turf

The Ambition

The concept behind the Surf ‘n Turf project is to enable Orkney to both make and use more electricity locally; to reduce fossil fuels imports and CO2 emissions; and to support Orkney communities and companies to herness locally sourced energy.

How?

The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) has invested in an electrolyser to use power from tidal turbines operating at the company’s test site off Eday to produce hydrogen by splitting water.

To build on this, Community Energy Scotland and partners created Surf ‘n’ Turf, so that power from Eday Renewable Energy’s community wind turbine can also be used to produce hydrogen using EMEC’s electrolyser.

Hydrogen can be stored, so it is shipped to Kirkwall where a hydrogen fuel cell is housed on Kirkwall Pier. The fuel cell converts the hydrogen back into electricity by mixing it with oxygen from the air. This electricity can power facilities in the Harbour area, and the ferries when docked.

Watch this three-minute video explaining what the Surf ‘n’ Turf project involves and how the technology works.

In addition, the Surf ‘n’ Turf project is building this fuel cell to marine standards, as it would be on a ship, which will create a unique UK facility to allow mariners to train in Orkney for any future hydrogen powered vessel. 

And the future?

Through Surf ’n’ Turf, Orkney is pioneering practical uses of hydrogen. Training and new opportunities with clean fuels are potentially of significance to shipping and other industries – as well as to communities that are rich in renewable energy resources, but have grid issues of their own. 

The Surf ’n’ Turf project has attracted £1.46 million in development funding from the Scottish Government’s Local Energy Challenge Fund. 

It is co-funded by the European Union Horizon 2020 programme, under the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking. 

The project is led by Community Energy Scotland, alongside partners EMEC, Orkney Island Council, Eday Renewable Energy and ITM Power. 

PITCHES

Between August 2017 and April 2019, PITCHES integrated with the pre-existing Surf ‘n’ Turf and BIG HIT projects in Orkney as a basis for assessing the market potential for renewable hydrogen systems serving remote communities, including those in sub-Saharan Africa, showing that hydrogen-based energy systems have the potential to reduce reliance on imported fuels, reduce carbon emissions, and in future as the technology develops, to reduce energy costs.

The Malawi / Southern Africa element of the PITCHES project explored the replicability of such systems to isolated, off-grid communities in Sub Saharan Africa, by testing configurations of the system, and identifying business models which best suit off-grid communities in developing countries. In the developing world, there are many remote communities with little or no grid access – the Energy Africa campaign estimates that 70% of the Sub-Saharan population is without electricity access, and 50% of businesses there view a lack of reliable power as a major barrier to business. Whilst other energy storage technologies, such as batteries, may be more suitable for the smallest communities, integrated hydrogen systems could have potential to support medium sized communities with hydrogen mini-grids, and also the potential in future to support nascent enterprises and industries through providing local transport fuel.  

In 2018 Mark Hull & Rona Mackay visited Community Energy Malawi (CEM) to work on the PITCHES project with our sister organisation. After visiting CEM’s offices in Lilongwe and meeting the staff there, they embarked on a trip around Malawi with Edgar Bayani (CEM CEO) and Chawazi Gondwe (PITCHES Development Officer) to visit some of the micro-grids in villages across Malawi.   

Watch this video for an overview of CEM’s work in Malawi.

Chikwawa and Sitolo 

In Chikwawa, South of Blantyre, they visited two projects on different scales where solar panels were charging batteries and lights which were then loaned out to businesses and households to provide power and light. In the West they called into Sitolo where CES and CEM are supporting three villages and who were soon to have their micro-grid installed. Electricity is supplied directly to the houses in this instance. 

Kasangazi and two neighbouring villages 

In the North Rona and Mark met Corled Nkosi who developed and hand built the Kasangazi Hydro and supported the creation of two further hydros in nearby villages. Over 2,000 people have benefitted from Corled’s determination and skills.  

Power from the hydro is supplied to Corled’s village on handmade poles with bare copper wires. Although rudimentary the three hydros are life-changing for local villagers, giving the school light in the evenings for pupils to study, electric bulbs in homes to replace candles and oil lamps which have health and safety risks. There is now also supply to a local garage enabling a business to grow and bring much needed economic activity to the area. 

Thank you to Community Energy Malawi for hosting our visit. In return we were able to share our knowledge and practical experience of using hydrogen in Orkney with the CEM team when they came to visit us in 2019. 

Read the full report here

 

The Fishermen Three

Collaborative Wind Power 

The Hoprigshiels site was developed jointly with Berwickshire Housing Association, a Registered Social Landlord, in 2017 providing homes for over a fifth of households in Berwickshire. This project also provides an annual community benefit payment of £37,500 (plus inflation) to the communities closest to the wind farm site, to be spent on whatever they identify as their priorities.

By supplying energy to the National Grid, the wind farm will create revenue for BHA of around £20 million over the next 25 years – enough to allow them to build 500 new homes over that period.  Community Energy Scotland’s £10 million share of the revenue will enable us to support communities across the country to develop and benefit from renewable energy projects and play a crucial part in building a greener energy system.  

The development and construction of the site was project-managed by Community Energy Scotland staff, and the site has been connected to the grid under an innovative Active Network Management scheme, allowing us to start generating before local transmission upgrades have been completed.  

CREEL

Canna can!

The Isle of Canna is one of the Small Isles, located off the West Coast to the south of Skye, with a population of under 20. It has no connection to the National Grid, so had previously relied on expensive diesel generators.  

The Canna Renewable Energy and Electrification project involved the construction of a new system based around wind, solar and battery storage which has drastically reduced fuel usage and running costs. Community Energy Scotland had been assisting the community with the development of this project since 2009, and we were commissioned by CREEL to take on the project management of the due diligence and construction phases. We helped secure the final grants for the build, negotiated the contracts and lease, and worked with the contractors to ensure this complex system was installed successfully before the winter storms.  

During the first year of operation, the new system generated over 138MWh of electricity, of which 93% was renewable. This resulted in a 94% reduction in diesel usage, saving 100.9 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions. The generators ran for under 2% of the time (operating less than 3 times per month on average), compared to running 24/7 previously. The success of the project was recognised by the judges at the 2019 Scottish Green Energy Awards, where CREEL took home the 2019 Best Community Project award.  We are thrilled that the SGEA judges recognised the persistence of the community in taking forward such a complex and ambitious project in a very remote location. 

The community secured £983,005 from the Big Lottery Fund and £150,000 from the Scottish Government’s Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES), delivered by Local Energy Scotland. An additional £100,000 was awarded from the SSE Highland Sustainable Development Fund, and £50,000 each from Highlands and Islands Enterprise and the National Trust for Scotland. 

“The island is exposed to the full force of Atlantic gales and we can finally start to put that to good use! As well as reducing the noise and pollution from the generators the new scheme will give us the capacity to build additional houses here, so that we can increase the number of people who can make their home on this beautiful island” 

Geraldine MacKinnon, CREEL director

We are extremely grateful to our funders: The Big Lottery Fund and their Growing Community Assets Programme; Local Energy Scotland and the Scottish Government for their CARES and Innovation and Infrastructure Fund programmes; SSE and their Highland Sustainable Development Fund; to Highlands and Islands Enterprise; and to the National Trust for Scotland, both for their financial contribution and for the lease of the network which has allowed the project to go ahead. 

Thanks should also go to the principal contractor SSE Contracting, and to their subcontractors; CHAP Ltd (civils); Wind & Sun Ltd (PV and battery/inverter systems); and SD Wind Ltd (turbine supply and installation). 

The people of Canna would also like to thank Community Energy Scotland and Jamie Adam in particular, for project managing this scheme; Jamie kept us on track though all of the complexities involved. 

Western Isles Micro-Turbines

Win – Win

The fleet of turbines are sited around the Western Isles. Their locations on community-owned land serve as an exchange for free electricity.

  • Benbecula x 1
  • Galson x 3
  • North Harris x 2
  • South Uist x 2
  • Tarbert x 3
CEST Ltd Western Isles Micro Turbine Locations – Google Maps

The turbines help provide an income to Community Energy Scotland Trading Limited, which passes profits back to support the work of Community Energy Scotland.

Built in the UK, the turbines were installed and are maintained by a business from South Uist, helping keep the supply chain local.

Community Energy Futures

About - Community Energy Futures

Tailored support to help communities understand the changing energy system and develop low carbon, locally owned energy projects.

  • The programme consists of workshops which encourage interaction and discussion between participants.
  • A case study approach is used which allows for an in-depth, multi-layered exploration of the complexities of energy-related projects in real-life settings.
  • The workshops are followed by a tailored package of one-to-one support designed to help community groups move their energy project ideas forward.

Workshops include:

  • Introduction
  • Making it happen
  • Low carbon heat
  • Low carbon transport
  • Smart homes & buildings
  • Smart networks

Find out more here

Community Power Orkney

CPO’s Roots

When the Orkney communities were commissioning their individual turbines they wanted to create a local community solution that would both satisfy the requirements of lenders but also ensured value and development were retained within their communities. So, collectively they came to an arrangement that allowed turbine managers on each island to operate and maintain their own installations whilst being supported by Community Energy Scotland (rather than having to employ/procure external professional resources to achieve the same thing). This arrangement continues today. 

 

As a joint endeavour, CPO won the SURF Award for Partnership Working in 2012. It has been used for formal and informal collaboration since, and also is now mirrored by a similar arrangement in the Western Isles, called Community Power Outer Hebrides (CPOH).

 

What We Do

The group meet regularly, and wherever appropriate, exchange information and knowledge and work collectively. Most recently, CES and the trading subsidiaries of five of the community groups who operate turbines (Eday Renewable Energy Ltd, Hoy Energy Ltd, REWIRED Ltd (Rousay, Egilsay & Wyre), Shapinsay Renewables, and Stronsay Renewable Energy Ltd) have been working collectively with a joint Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) contract with energy purchasers, to secure increased value from all the green energy they produce together.  

For further information on Community Power Orkney please contact our Orkney team, based in Kirkwall, on 07920 182308. 

Community Power Outer Hebrides

Who We Are

Community Power Outer Hebrides comprises the following community groups which operate large revenue-generating wind turbines: 

         

 

 

 

What We Do

Community Power Outer Hebrides members’ services and benefits: 

  • Partner calls in order to share information and learn from the different projects 
  • Co-ordination and collective representation of communal/shared operational problems 
  • Transfer/peer group interaction with access to expert advice and support 
  • Representation on collective issues and lobbying in relation to policy changes or key issues which may affect the  energy projects 
  • Learning visits of particular relevance to the consortium’s energy projects 
  • Guidance on topics of particular relevance to the consortium’s energy projects 
  • Delivery of any relevant training as prioritised by the community groups each year 
  • Social & economic impact measurement support 

Each Trust pays an annual subscription to Community Energy Scotland to access the CPOH services.

For further information on Community Power Outer Hebrides please contact Rona Mackay, Head of Operations, based in Benbecula.

OHLEH

Outer Hebrides Local Energy Hub: Sustainable and competitive options to increase resilience of remote businesses.

The project is taking place on the Isle of Lewis across two sites – a waste management facility and a fish hatchery – demonstrating a circular energy economy that will have relevance and learning for other projects. 

Waste Management Facility

The Creed Integrated Waste Management Facility (IWMF), located just outside Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, is owned and operated by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (CnES), the Local Authority for the Western Isles. Current features of the site include an anaerobic digester (AD), combined heat and power plant (CHP), electric boiler and thermal store, a wind turbine and a hydrogen system comprising electrolyser, storage and refuelling station.

Fish Hatchery

The Scottish Salmon Company (SSC) owns and operates four hatcheries, 12 marine fish farms and one processing facility on the Island of Lewis and Harris.  The salmon hatchery at Barvas, Isle of Lewis, will be the main focus of this project, although fish waste from all SSC sites in Lewis and Harris will be able to be deposited at the Creed IWMF.

© Google Maps

OHLEH intends to integrate fish waste along with household and garden waste anaerobic digestion at Creed IWMF. In managing fish waste in this way rather than sending it all to landfill, OHLEH will have a positive impact both environmentally and economically.

Biogas produced from the waste in the AD is used to fuel the existing on-site CHP.  Some of the electricity generated by the CHP is sent to a hydrogen system to produce hydrogen and oxygen.  The system will also make use of some of the electricity from the wind turbine on site, which is often subject to curtailment due to grid constraints.  In this way, OHLEH maximises the use of existing assets.

Both hydrogen and oxygen are captured, compressed and delivered to the hatchery for local use. Oxygenation is essential to aquaculture, and hydrogen will be used in a small fuel cell which will provide electricity to the site. Energy and oxygen can both be seen as critical supplies. OHLEH opens a route for sustainable and competitive options to increase resilience of remote businesses.

The hydrogen system at Creed includes a refuelling station, and some of the hydrogen will be used to refill a dual-fuel Refuse Collection Vehicle (RCV) operating on hydrogen/diesel.  The RCV will be used to collect local waste, part of which ends in the biogas production system.

Most of the equipment for this project is already installed; essentially OHLEH looks at how to link the existing assets together, leading to the creation of a circular and innovative local energy economy.

Technical Information

Wind turbine300kW
Grid connection limited to 225kW
Anaerobic digesterCapacity: 960m3
Production: Between 60m3 and 80m3 per day (as a general average)
Expected biogas yield 448,412m3/year (mix fish/domestic waste)
CHP240kW electrical and 370kW heat output
Minimum combusting 80Nm3/h of biogas
(c. 48Nm3 of Methane)
Annual operating hours expected to reach 4990h
Hydrogen systemAlkaline electrolyser, 30kW – 5.3Nm3/h – 0.45kg/h
350bar compression, storage and refuelling equipment
Refuse Collection Vehicle5kg of Hydrogen
Stored at 350bar
Fuel cell5kW

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