Orkney Surf ‘n’ Turf officially launched

Surf & Turf
(Source: The Orcadian/Craig Taylor)

On Wednesday 27th September 2017, the innovative Surf ‘n’ Turf hydrogen community energy project was officially launched in Orkney by the Scottish Government’s Business, Innovation & Energy Minister, Paul Wheelhouse.

Scottish Government Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, Paul Wheelhouse, stated “Hydrogen itself and hydrogen fuel cells both have huge potential in Scotland’s low-carbon energy system and we have already supported a number of world-leading hydrogen demonstration projects.

We will continue to support innovation in suitable hydrogen initiatives and explore the practicalities of using hydrogen as a zero carbon substitute fuel for the heating of homes and businesses in Scotland and in transport.

Hydrogen energy technologies are in the early stages of development in Scotland but there is growing global awareness of their potential in the decarbonisation of heat, industry and transport. We are actively considering what role hydrogen can play in Scotland’s future energy system as part of the Scottish Energy Strategy, and projects like Surf ‘n’ Turf have a very important role to play in informing that work.”

The “Surf ’n’ Turf” project is led by Community Energy Scotland, in collaboration with the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), Orkney Islands Council, Eday Renewable Energy and ITM Power. The project has received £1.3m (€1.5m) of Scottish government funding through the CARES programme and Local Energy Challenge Fund.

Mark Hull, Community Energy Scotland’s Head of Innovation said: “We never forget why we took on this challenge: we want community energy to work so that local people benefit directly from their renewable energy.

This hydrogen pilot has been the best opportunity for Eday due to their location, type of grid limitations, its fantastic energy resource and the chance to power the local ferries with Orkney’s own fuel. We are proud, together with the community and partners, to have cleared the hurdles and reached this milestone.”

Orkney is an archipelago off the north-eastern coast of Scotland. There is a plentiful amount of natural resources (wave, tidal, wind and solar), which allows for the electricity to be generated locally from renewable resources. On many occasions the generated electricity is more than what is needed by the local population and the surplus is exported to the UK National Grid. In some instances, a problem arises with an over-production of green electricity, as the grid connection in Orkney is not large enough to support the export of all that is produced. This results in curtailment of the production of green electricity and clean energy being unharnessed.

Eday Island hosts the tidal site of the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) and has around 200 residents, which own collectively 900kW wind turbine through Eday Renewable Energy. Both Eday’s wind turbine and EMEC’s tidal turbines are susceptible to curtailment because of the non-firm grid connection.

Andy Stennett, Managing Director of Eday Renewable Energy Ltd said: “The ERE team is proud to be part of such an innovative pilot. We expect to reclaim electricity that was previously lost, meaning more revenue, and more money we can pass to our community.”

Surf ‘n’ Turf provides Eday’s community-owned wind turbine and EMEC with equipment to convert and store the surplus energy as hydrogen. The fuel cell (75kW) was the final piece of the hydrogen project and it was delivered and install by Arcola Energy in collaboration with German Proton Motor. The hydrogen is compressed by EMEC’s electrolyser, stored and transported to Kirkwall for off-site use, where the fuel cell will convert it back into electricity for use by the inter-island ferries while berthed at the pier. EMCE produced the world’s first tidal-powered hydrogen in August this year.

James Stockan, Leader of Orkney Islands Council, said: “This is all about turning a problem into an opportunity – a home-grown solution to the difficulties grid restraints cause for a community with abundant renewable energy resources.

The result is a world-leading project that rightly is attracting international interest. I am confident that this will be the first of many pioneering ways our community will find to utilise hydrogen produced using Orkney’s natural resources.”

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GREBE Policy Workshops in 2017

Finland Policy workshop
Michael Doran of Action Renewables

Action Renewables is the lead partner for Work Package 3 on Policy and Funding Mechanisms, within the GREBE project.   Part of this work package is to organise policy workshops in each partner region. To date Action Renewables has participated in five policy workshops.  Since the start of 2017, there have been three workshops in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Finland.  The purpose of these workshops is to involve and support stakeholders within the renewable energy sector.

During the workshops we discuss the advantages / disadvantages of local policies for that area and discuss how they can be improved to help the economy. The policy workshops will involve representatives of relevant bodies and Government departments that set the renewable energy policy agendas.  Each policy workshop has been different.  The reason for this, the conditions within each country are different and they are different policies.  All of the policy workshops were chaired by Michael Doran and Mark Corrigan of Action Renewables.   Our Norwegian partner Narvik Science Park which hold a policy workshop in April and it is our intention all will be completed before June 2017. We will then have a list of potential new policy mechanisms which will support different partner regions.

Northern Ireland

The Northern Ireland policy workshop was hosted by South West College at their Dungannon campus on the 11th January.   For this workshop we had 10 representatives, who came from different sectors throughout Northern Ireland, including the Department of Environment, Invest NI, Fermanagh Omagh District Council, Fermanagh Enterprise and the Ulster Farmers Union.

This policy workshop focussed on the renewable energy industry in Northern Ireland and the lack of new policy development, and how this will have an impact on the economy.  Northern Ireland will have no policy supports for the sector after the 31st of March 2017.

Scotland

Action Renewables chaired the Scotland policy workshop on the 26th January.  This workshop was organised by the University of Highlands & Islands and was held in Inverness.   For this policy workshop, we had the privilege of four guest speakers

  • HWenergy provided an “Overview of current renewable energy policies and constraints”,
  • Scottish Enterprise on “The solutions that exist within Highland & Island Enterprise and Scottish Enterprise”,
  • Local Energy Scotland, on “Community participation in RE” and
  • Community Energy Scotland on “Communities constrained by the existing policies”

Scotland are very advanced on policies that support the renewable energy sector.  To date Scotland have 18 policy mechanisms, which support the sector and is a popular area for wind and hydro.  Many of their support mechanisms are for SMEs looking to enter the renewable energy industry.

Finland

Finlands policy workshop took place in Joensuu on the 9th February.   Finland is mainly focused on its forestry sector, so therefore biomass is their main focus.  At the policy workshop we had 12 participants from a variety of different sectors. We also had the honour of the following guest speakers:

  • Regional Council of North Karelia – Presenter Anniina Kontiokorpi outlined how they are preparing an implementation plan (roadmap) for North Karelia to achieve ambitious aims established in their Climate and Energy Program.
  • Mayor Asko Saatsi from the City of Nurmes – In Nurmes, bioenergy projects (bio refineries) are essential part of local development strategy.
  • Mika Juvonen, CEO/Bio10 Ltd. – Mika Juvonen has established organic waste treatment/biogas plant in Kitee.  He has been actively informing policies and been able to reduce barriers identified in sector.