The strategy has been developed in partnership including HIE, Orkney Islands Council, Community Energy Scotland (CES) and the Orkney Renewable Energy Forum (OREF), on behalf of the wider community.
It presents a vision for the islands:
A low carbon economy driven uniquely by innovation and collaboration, enabling the community to achieve ambitious carbon reduction targets, address fuel poverty and provide energy systems solutions to the world.
Consultation took place in March this year with relevant partners, including the local supply chain, as well as the wider public.
This fed into the newly published strategy, which was recently endorsed by the Orkney Partnership (the local community planning partnership).
A copy was presented today to Paul Wheelhouse MSP, Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, who performed the opening ceremony for the CES-led Surf ‘n’ Turf project.
The strategy sets out five targets for Orkney:
- The achievement of ambitious carbon reduction targets.
- The reduction and eradication of fuel poverty in Orkney.
- Positioning Orkney as the globally recognised innovation region to develop solutions for the world’s energy systems challenges.
- Ensuring a secure energy supply during transition to a low carbon future.
- Maximising economic opportunity and investment in Orkney.
Graeme Harrison, HIE area manager in Orkney, said: “Energy is a key growth sector for the Highlands and Islands and one of our top priorities. There are huge opportunities in sustainable energy development and Orkney is at the heart of this. This new strategy is about securing environmental, economic and social benefits in Orkney as well as keeping the islands group at the forefront of sustainable energy development internationally.”
James Stockan, Leader of Orkney Islands Council, said: “An innovative and inclusive approach to sustainable energy development lies at the heart of the strategy. This is exemplified by Surf ‘n’ Turf, a world leading project that reflects the ambition of our community in taking forward projects with the potential to greatly benefit our islands – and support wider national and international efforts to bring about carbon reduction.”
Mark Hull, Community Energy Scotland’s Head of Innovation said: "Orkney has many non-profit organisations like us, working to strengthen communities and tackle social issues caused by high energy demands and costs. This strategy builds on local people's enthusiasm for genuine community ownership of energy resources, for participation in energy decisions, and for the value of our clean power to benefit Orkney."
Gareth Davies, Chair of the OREF, said: “Orkney has benefited hugely from the committed drive that has been made to a sustainable energy future over the last 20 years. What has been achieved has been done collectively with many people and organisations working together for a common set of aims. This latest sustainable energy strategy for Orkney sets out new horizons which we can all now work for on our way to: decarbonising our whole energy system; eradicating energy poverty; building a vibrant energy sector at the heart of our economy and not least helping to protect the earth from excessive global warming.”
The next step will be to develop an action plan to help the islands reach these goals set out in the Sustainable Energy Strategy.