UK Research and Innovation gives green light to ReFLEX Orkney project

February 4th 2020

The ground-breaking ReFLEX Orkney project has passed the first stage gate review, enabling it to move from feasibility stage to demonstration.

ReFLEX Orkney has successfully progressed through the first stage of the project, following a review meeting with UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) last month [January 2020].

Funded by UKRI through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, ReFLEX Orkney is aiming to integrate electricity, transport and heat networks in Orkney using advanced software to balance demand and supply.

Moving into phase two, 2020 will see the launch of an attractive local electricity tariff tailored to the needs of ReFLEX’s innovative integrated energy system.

Work is now underway to set up a new local energy company to offer advice to local consumers and businesses on their energy needs, as well as providing affordable leasing options for new domestic and commercial batteries, electric vehicles and charging points in Orkney, with reduced upfront cost for end users.

This pioneering project will help Orkney maximise the potential of its renewable production capabilities and reduce the county’s carbon footprint by decreasing reliance on imported carbon-intensive grid electricity from the UK mainland.

Led by the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), the consortium includes locally-based partners Aquatera, Solo Energy, Community Energy Scotland, Heriot-Watt University and Orkney Islands Council, as well as multi-national energy company Doosan Babcock.

ReFLEX Orkney partners and funders Jan 2020 (Credit Colin Keldie)


Rob Saunders, Challenge Director, Prospering from the Energy Revolution, UK Research and Innovation said:

“ReFLEX Orkney is a key component of the PFER Challenge and is showcasing how intelligent local energy systems of the future can bring about real benefits for users. It is therefore testament to the hard work and innovation amongst the ReFLEX team that they have successfully passed this first stage review. Clean energy, delivered across smart and efficient local networks will play a major role in achieving the net zero goals of 2050. The successful progress of demonstration projects like ReFLEX highlight the opportunities that are available to the UK through this kind of innovation. We look forward to working with ReFLEX on the next stage of their project.”

On behalf of the ReFLEX Orkney project partners, Gareth Davies, Aquatera Managing Director, said:

“Over the last nine months, the ReFLEX project partners have been hard at work assessing the feasibility of the project, developing the service offerings, and working out how best to deliver a progressive energy system within an out of date regulatory framework.

“The consumer services under development will be rolled out later in 2020 and are expected to include attractive and more affordable electricity tariffs, access to a wide range of EVs and other decarbonised energy technologies. It is also planned to deliver a range of rental or leasing options to try and make the adoption of such energy solutions as easy and affordable as possible for everyone.

“ReFLEX Orkney is a world first and recognises the key role Orkney has played in UK energy over the last half a century from oil and gas through to wave and tidal energy. Once demonstrated and proven in Orkney, it is expected that the model can then be replicated in other areas across the UK and internationally – helping to create more flexible and renewable-friendly energy systems.”

For updates on this project, sign up to the ReFLEX Orkney newsletter at



For further information, contact:

Caron Oag, Hydrogen Marketing Officer, EMEC

Tel: +44 (0)1856 852219


Editors notes:

About ReFLEX Orkney:

The ReFLEX Orkney project was launched in 2019 to decarbonise Orkney's energy system, increase the use of local renewable generation and provide a competitive local renewable electricity tariff.

The idea is to integrate electricity, transport and heat networks in Orkney using advanced software to balance demand and supply. The project intends to install new domestic and commercial batteries, electric vehicles and charging points in Orkney.

The roll out of these technologies will allow more renewable generation to be stored in Orkney, which will reduce our need to import electricity which may have been generated by fossil fuels.


About the ReFLEX Orkney Consortium:

Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund

The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund brings together the UK’s world-leading research with business to meet the major industrial and societal challenges of our time. It provides funding and support to UK businesses and researchers, part of the government’s £4.7 billion increase in research and development over the next 4 years. It plays a central role in the Government’s modern Industrial Strategy. It is run by UK Research and Innovation, which comprises the Research Councils, Innovate UK and Research England.

UK Research and Innovation

UK Research and Innovation is a new organisation that brings together the UK Research Councils, Innovate UK and Research England into a single organisation to create the best environment for research and innovation to flourish. The vision is to ensure the UK maintains its world leading position in research and innovation. For more information visit