Jim Lott Demonstrators

The energy system in Orkney is subject to specific constraints, and its independent location means it is the ideal location to demonstrate the capabilities of a self-contained smart energy network, and the potential impact it can deliver.

Orkney is a representation of energy supply problems which energy networks find difficult to solve using traditional technology. Specifically; Orkney produces 130% of the electricity it needs through existing installed renewable generation, yet 63% of Orkneys residents live in fuel poverty.

Project ReFLEX will install FLEXible technologies to address the restrictions which cause this imbalance and demonstrate a Responsive Virtual Energy System which links these networks together. Thus, allowing production to be maximised, efficiencies to be recovered, and new business models to be proven, meaning energy can be supplied at minimum cost to the consumer and generating knowledge which will allow us to replicate activity and impact across the UK and internationally.

The project will last for 36 months and include the installation and operation of multiple technologies including:

  • Hydrogen Fuel Cell for the provision of electricity and heat
  • Domestic energy storage
  • Commercial energy storage
  • Vehicle to grid charging infrastructure
  • Ground source heat pump systems
  • Building management systems
  • Virtual power plant systems
  • Integrated Grid-smart community-led transport system and infrastructure

A Virtual Energy System will combine the above infrastructure alongside existing infrastructure on Orkney to demonstrate the capabilities of a smart energy system; linking together the electricity, heat and transport energy networks to create a system of maximum efficiency and value for consumers, generators, suppliers and operators within the energy system.


Project Boundary
Local Energy Area Representation

ERIS has produced a tool that helps projects build a picture of the local area, provides local data to support modelling, and deliver key planning insights for the projects.

Aquatera Limited

Thinking locally and operating globally Aquatera uses its experience and expertise to help overcome some of the major environmental and energy challenges of our time

Community Energy Scotland Limited

We provide detailed, independent and ongoing support for all aspects of community energy project development, from micro to megawatt scale. We help broadcast the specific difficulties faced by the community sector. And by bringing communities and policy makers together, we try to find new ways forward.

Doosan Babcock Limited

Our solutions for reliable, distributed energy will help reduce the environmental impact of your operations

Heriot-Watt University

Founded in 1821, Heriot-Watt has a rich heritage and an established reputation as a leading research-led university and provider of education around the world.

ORE Catapult Development Services Ltd

We are delivering the UK’s largest clean growth opportunity by accelerating the creation and growth of UK companies in offshore renewable energy. Our unique facilities, research and engineering capabilities bring together industry and academia and drive innovation.

Orkney Islands Council

As a council, our activities touch the lives of everyone living in our island community, from schools to the care of the elderly, from rubbish collection to maintaining the county’s roads and from caring for burial grounds to handling planning applications. Orkney Islands Council (OIC) has an impact on many aspects of everyday life. With around 1,800 staff, we are also the county’s biggest employer.

Solo Energy Limited

Solo are building the power plant of the future – the Virtual Power Plant. The building blocks of a Virtual Power Plant are batteries. Unlike a conventional power plant, our Virtual Power Plant is not a large industrial plant in one single location, but a connected system of distributed batteries and Electric Vehicles in homes and businesses across the grid. We digitally link these assets to act as an intelligent system of flexible demand and supply which help balance the intermittency of renewable generation.

The European Marine Energy Centre Limited (EMEC)

Successful marine energy industry. (EMEC) Ltd is the first and only centre of its kind in the world to provide developers of both wave and tidal energy converters.


Project documents are held on the ERIS data sharing platform

Project News

Related (EKX)

Building management, Commercial energy storage, Domestic energy storage, energy networks, energy supply, energy system, FLEXible technologies, fuel poverty, Ground source, heat pump, Hydrogen Fuel Cell, ideal location, independent location, Integrated Grid, maximum efficiency, minimum cost, multiple technologies, new business models, Orkney, Orkneys residents, potential impact, Project ReFLEX, renewable generation, Responsive Virtual Energy System, smart community, smart energy network, smart energy system, specific constraints, traditional technology, transport system, UK, Vehicle, Virtual Energy System, and Virtual power plant systems
Provided by Energy Knowledge Exchange