SMART electricity grid technology may be tried out in the northern isles should a bid for £51 million from the Low Carbon Networks Fund be successful.
Scottish & Southern Energy subsidiary Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution (SHEPD), Shetland Islands Council, Orkney Islands Council and a number of local organisations are planning to invest £81 million into a project that could “revolutionise the islands’ electricity networks”.
The Low Carbon Networks fund has been set up by Ofgem to help electricity network operators address the challenges created by the “de-carbonisation” of energy in the UK.
SSE said it had chosen to seek funding for work in Shetland and Orkney as the islands were at the forefront of renewable energy technology.
Project manager Frank Clifton said: “Our job is to make sure that our networks can provide the energy people need in a reliable and sustainable way.
“The nature of energy generation on and around the northern isles is changing rapidly which means the way the networks operate must change too.
“The funding Ofgem is offering provides a great opportunity for us to trial new technologies and share the benefits with businesses and householders in the northern isles.”
The project would support a range of measures including:
” new “smart” technology which will allow demand and supply of electricity to be more efficiently balanced;
” novel commercial arrangements rewarding local businesses that can be flexible about the times at which they use most energy;
” sophisticated energy storage schemes to make the most of locally produced renewable power.
Mr Clifton added: “We have met with Shetland Islands Council and Orkney Islands Council and several local businesses and organisations to discuss the benefits this project could bring.
“I’m pleased that the proposals have been well received and we look forward to working with them as the funding bid progresses.”
SIC convenor Sandy Cluness said: “This is a great opportunity for Shetland and we are delighted to support this bid.
“The proposals will bring direct benefits to the islands, including allowing more local community renewable schemes to gain access to the Shetland grid, and helping prevent fuel poverty.”
The success of SHEPD’s application for Ofgem funding will be known in December.
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