Local Energy Challenge Fund helps deliver £1.2m wind farm to combat fuel poverty in Orkney

fuel povertyResidents in the Orkney Islands are to benefit from a new smart-control energy system linking the renewable energy generated from wind turbines to the heating systems in their homes.

Around 100 households in the islands are to trial the new scheme after the Rousay, Egilsay and Wyre Development Trust received £1.2 million for its Heat Smart Orkney project from the Scottish Government’s Local Energy Challenge Fund.

The project will use the excess electricity that Orkney cannot export into the UK grid because of lack of capacity and divert it to newly-installed heating devices in domestic properties.

Trust spokesman Michelle Koster, said: “We are delighted to have received this funding award from the Local Energy Challenge Fund.

“Orkney has the highest levels of fuel poverty in Scotland and the electricity grid regularly has to be curtailed, meaning the community-owned turbine in Rousay is turned off.

“Providing the ability to divert otherwise curtailed energy into secondary heating devices installed in homes, seems an obvious solution.

“Rousay, Egilsay and Wyre Development Trust has worked in partnership with Community Energy Scotland to develop this project and we hope to invite other generators, also affected by curtailment, to benefit from the diversion of their electricity in a similar way.”

Interested householders will be invited to receive a home assessment followed by installation of energy efficient heating devices which are linked via the internet to a cloud control centre.

As the turbine receives a curtailment signal, the cloud control centre will switch on the heating devices.  The additional electricity used by the devices will be metered and a rebate paid to the householder from the additional income received by the turbine.

The funding boost came as the Scottish Government awarded more than £10 million to support nine large-scale, low carbon energy projects across the country via the Local Energy Challenge Fund.

Laura Campbell, Challenge Fund project manager, said: “Local Energy Scotland is delighted to be able to provide support through the Scottish Government’s Local Energy Challenge Fund to these innovative and aspirational projects. 

“Community energy represents tremendous potential to empower people to make the most of their local resources. By supporting local energy development we can help tackle some of our most pressing energy issues including fuel poverty, increasing costs and security of supply.

“It’s exciting to think that these projects have the potential shape the future of Scotland’s local energy economies and act as demonstrators for other communities.”

Other funding awards made by the Local Energy Challenge Fund were as follows:

  • £2 million to Perth and Kinross Council’s River Tay heat-pump system
  • £2.5 million to Glasgow Housing Association’s large scale air source heat pump
  • £900,000 to Fintry Development Trust’s smart meter programme
  • £2 million to the Energise Galashiels Hydro scheme
  • £900,000 to Community Energy Scotland’s Tower Power initiative at Dumbiedykes, Edinburgh
  • £1.4 million to the Outer Hebrides Local Energy Hub
  • £550,000 to Xanthella’s Algal Solutions for Local Energy Economy scheme
  • £200,000 to Rosemount Farm’s Montrose Local Energy Project

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