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Business / Strathclyde University partners with Shetland renewables project

The ORION project will seek to power remaining oil and gas installations with green energy sources.

THE UNIVERSITY of Strathclyde has joined project ORION, Shetland Islands Council’s ambitious plan to help the isles become an international clean energy hub by 2030.

The university has now signed a three-year memorandum of understanding with the council and the other partners Oil and Gas Technology Centre (OGTC) and Highland and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

The project aims to secure and transform Shetland’s role in a rapidly changing fossil fuel industry by using onshore wind power to enable major oil and gas fields become net zero by 2030.

The project also envisages that wind and hydrogen will be used to power the islands’ homes and businesses, replacing fossil fuels by providing affordable renewable energy.

Principal of the University of Strathclyde professor Sir Jim McDonald said the project would take advantage of the university’s ability to draw expertise from across multiple disciplines.

“Project ORION will completely transform how energy is produced, transported and consumed on Shetland and utilise the skills and experience of the highly skilled workforce to sustain thousands of oil & gas sector jobs and create hundreds of new onshore jobs,” professor McDonald said.

“Importantly, project ORION will take a systems engineering approach to the technological interdependencies vital to achieving net zero.

”We are delighted to become partners in project ORION and look forward to channel our internationally-leading research to help drive this important partnership forward.”

Council leader Steven Coutts said the University’s skills base was completely aligned with the ORION project.

“This new arrangement is highly significant for supporting Shetland’s transition to net-zero carbon emissions, retaining sustainable energy employment in the isles and for the council to implement effective climate change solutions in its own operations.”

Project coordinator Gunther Newcombe added: “The ORION project is a fantastic example of how a council like Shetland can work collaboratively with industry and academia to transform the local economy to renewable energy and develop business opportunities at industrial scale to create sustainable new jobs for the future.”