A surplus of electricity from renewable sources is a luxury that many communities in a world threatened by climate change might wish for. This is the happy situation of Orkney, a wind-swept archipelago 10 miles (16 kms) north of the Scottish mainland on the edge of the Atlantic. Orkney’s renewable energy, a success at home, may soon be supplying consumers further afield. Using a combination of wind, sun, tides and waves, the islands have been producing more than 100% of the electricity the residents need since 2013, and have now reached 130%. The islanders are exploiting their renewable riches by developing a variety of pioneering schemes. Many are being installed by Scottish engineering companies that hope they will be scaled up and will benefit the rest of Europe, and of the entire world. Orkney is home to the European Marine Energy Centre, which is successfully testing wave and tidal machines. But the islands are also pioneering other technologies and putting the surplus electricity to good use. Spare power is already used to make hydrogen and oxygen. The Orcadians plan to use hydrogen to power the fleet of small boats they need to connect the populations of nine of the largest inhabited islands, and the fleet of larger ferries linking them to mainland Scotland.
Climate News Network 2nd July 2021 read more »