ORION project welcomes new faces, organisations, and opportunities

Orion logo

The Orion Clean Energy Project has made significant progress in the past few months, and is now assessing future energy needs, infrastructure requirements and business opportunities.

  • In mid-March, the Islands Growth Deal was signed by the UK & Scottish governments, Orkney Islands Council, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and Shetland Islands Council (SIC). Shetland will receive £5m towards a Clean Energy Project to promote economic and low-carbon gains across Shetland through community-level hydrogen generation.
  • In May, the Council established a Future Energy Team, headed by Executive Manager Douglas Irvine, who has been working with the ORION project since its conception. The team will work with ORION, the Shetland Islands Clean Energy Strategy, and many other projects to promote and progress energy transition in Shetland and the wider region.
  • In May, Strathclyde University joined the project as a strategic partner. ORION will benefit from the University’s expertise in many disciplines and its established skills base.  ORION is firmly established at the intersection of industry, government, academia and community and the new partner is welcomed by SIC, the Net Zero Technology Centre, and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).
  • In June, a workshop was held with Shetland supply chain companies working in the marine sector to provide an understanding of marine activity and renewable energy development.

Two studies are now due to be initiated.  The first is a techno-economic study to provide insight into the integrated renewable energy vision for Shetland and northeast Scotland, which will also help develop business and investment cases for ORION. The study will be managed by the Net Zero Technology Centre, working with a consortium consisting of Worley, Wood Mackenzie and VOAR, a Shetland energy Company.  

In July, the first phase of an onshore power systems study led by Strathclyde University and supported by Hitachi ABB will begin to evaluate the Shetland’s power grid system to understand future electrification and infrastructure requirements. This study will be essential in developing grid configurations, and will help predict future supply and power requirements for local industry and domestic users, as well as for the future production of hydrogen and potential offshore requirements.

After Chairing the Council’s recent Environment and Transport Committee, Councillor Robbie McGregor said:  “I am really pleased to see the progress that the ORION Project team is making.  The Council must make sure that Shetland continues to engage with the increasing global drive towards a clean energy future.  There are so many possible developments on and around Shetland, and the benefits will pass us by if we are not fully connected with progress."

"Keeping close to the emerging clean energy sector developments will also help us persuade decision makers to reduce the negative impacts on our valuable fishing resources, and on navigation in our waters.  It is good to see a strong emphasis on research into these ideas, which should help identify commercial prospects and the development timelines so that we can plan our services accordingly.”

Published: 5th July 2021