THE SHETLAND Net Zero Energy Forum reached an “important milestone” in the organisation yesterday (Wednesday) by launching its website.
The group follows on from the Shetland Renewable Energy Forum, which was formed in 2003 but went dormant in 2014.
A website launch event was held at the Shetland Museum on Wednesday afternoon – somewhat ironically at the same time prime minister Rishi Sunak was announcing that the UK Government was scaling back some of its net zero targets.
This includes putting back the ban on selling new petrol and diesel cars five years to 2035.
In the coming years Shetland is set to host onshore wind farms, while offshore wind developments have been proposed to the east of Shetland – and new energy opportunities like hydrogen production has also been mooted.
Shetland Islands Council has set a target for the isles themselves to go net zero by 2045, but there will be some considerable challenges given that some of the largest sources of emissions are said to be from land use, energy industries and agriculture – as well as transport.
The net zero forum has so far a total of 24 members across a range of sectors, ranging from Sullom Voe Terminal operator EnQuest, tidal energy company Nova Innovation and Unst’s Pure Energy Centre to Cooke Aquaculture, EMN Plant, Malakoff and Hjaltland Housing Association.
The cost of becoming a member for local organisations ranges from £100 to £450, depending on the number of employees.
The aim is to represent and champion Shetland’s energy sector to become a “world-leader” in the transition to net zero – whilst maximising the economic and community benefits for Shetland.
The forum’s co-chair Elizabeth Johnson said having a web presence, and new branding, was an important step forward.
“We now have a full suite of tools to promote the opportunities and benefits of the net zero transition for our members and greater Shetland,” she said.
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Membership to the forum is open to any private or community business and organisations registered in Shetland with an interest in net zero energy.
Non-voting membership is open to businesses and organisations outwith Shetland, but with an interest in the isles’ transition to net zero.
Johnson said the hope is to work collectively – “because there is strength in numbers”.
“Any input is welcome,” she said. “We are not a closed shop.”
Forum committee member Ewen Adamson, whose civil and structural engineering company CASE Shetland is part of the group, said it was “hugely important” to work together on the drive to net zero.
He said otherwise the “opportunity [in the transition to net zero] could pass us by”.
Adamson also said it was important to “champion Shetland as a great place to do business”.
“I want to see the community benefit from this,” he added.
Fellow committee Daniel Gear, from local energy consultancy firm Voar, echoed those views.
“I think that the way that the opportunity might pass us by is that it ends up being not Shetland companies that capitalise on that,” he said.
Gear said the Shetland community would then stand to benefit off the back of this.
“I think the best way to achieve that is to work together.”
NB Communication designed the website, and its managing director David Nicol said he was “delighted” to be involved.
“We’ve been helping with the brand identity, the website, and various aspects of offline print design.” he said. “We’re pleased with how it’s turned out.”
Nicol said NB, which offers web design and marketing services, has been seeing an “increasing amount of work coming in from clients who are either directly involved in net zero activities, or who are very aware of the direction that things are going in”.
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