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Energy / Clean energy project secures £2.8m funding boost

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

THE PROJECT to transform Shetland into a “clean energy island” has received £2.8 million in funding from the Scottish Government.

The funding comes from a new £16.5 million pot of money given to the Aberdeen based Net Zero Technology Centre aimed at reducing emissions in the North Sea energy system.

The centre is a key partner on the ORION project, which – among other goals – aims to create a green hydrogen export business in Shetland using offshore wind power.

Also involved in ORION is Shetland Islands Council (SIC), Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Strathclyde University, which are working together with the industry.

The £2.8 million is coming via the Scottish Government’s energy transition fund (ETF), but it will be match funded by the industry – bringing the total cash injection to £5.6 million.

SIC infrastructure director John Smith said: “The ETF funding announcement today is fantastic news and essential to our progress in developing the UK’s first green energy island.

“We are working with the government, industry and academia to develop the technology and infrastructure required to create a blueprint for other energy hubs in the UK to follow.

“Getting this right will create confidence in a clean energy hub vision for the UKCS [UK Continental Shelf] and through lessons learned in this project, will de-risk the development of future hubs.

“At the core of our work is the challenge of producing green hydrogen from offshore wind power, to electrify offshore platforms, provide alternative fuels for vehicles and marine vessels and diversify Shetland’s energy supply chain.”

Smith said ORION has a “huge potential impact on the UK’s energy landscape”.

“In Shetland, ORION could create 821 jobs by 2050, while developing a model for clean energy hubs could create more than 5,000 jobs across Scotland,” he added.

A total of seven projects are due to benefit from the £16.5 million given to the Net Zero Technology Centre.

The centre was formerly called the Oil and Gas Technology Centre.