HSO – smart community energy
Orkney suffers high levels of fuel poverty, and lost generation and revenue due to grid curtailment, while having some of the highest wind generation capacity. For the islands of Rousay and Eday, an average of >45 % of production (nearly £500k lost revenue combined per annum) when curtailment first started to impede generation. The Heat Smart Orkney (HSO) project (funded by the Scottish Government’s Local Energy Challenge Fund) provides a smart solution by connecting the community owned wind turbines to the heating of local homes.
Rousay, Egilsay and Wyre Development Trust led HSO, with delivery support from Community Energy Scotland. A technology partner developed an aggregator platform to monitor signals from the distribution system operator’s (DSO’s) Active Management System to the turbine and control the demand-side management (DSM) load (264kW of hot water cylinders and storage heaters) to the benefit of the turbine. This required the DSM loads to react fast enough to be relevant to the project’s goals.
The funded project was completed in 2019 however the community will continue to fund the project as it is now starting to show live matching as a business-as-usual activity. It has already fed learnings into two multi-million-pound projects in Orkney, with implications for the rest of the UK.
Over 70 properties benefited from the project. Energy fuels across project properties saw a total drop, due to displacement or efficiency measures, of 4,700 litres of oil; 8,000kg of coal and wood; and 20.4MWh of electricity. However, the benefits went beyond being able to reduce fuel costs and increase generation, including: energy advice; increased sense of ownership of local energy; increased revenue for community projects; employment for 3 isle residents.
A key aim of HSO was to reduce fuel poverty. A rebate compensated homeowners for the additional power used in their home at a higher cost than the alternative provision of heat (oil, coal, etc). Due to its success, the rebate rate was doubled to promote further incentive.