A study into the potential creation of a rural energy and transport hub in Shetland has received a grant of £52,648 from Innovate UK’s Net Zero Living Programme.
Set to be led by Shetland Islands Council, the study will run from April 1 until June 30 in collaboration with Aquatera and Community Energy Scotland.
It will investigate the non-technical barriers to implementing a rural energy and transport hub on the island. The plan is focused on the six categories of transport; energy use; reuse, recycling, and waste; business and industry; buildings; and land use.
The study will make use of earlier and ongoing work by the local authority to identify potential ways to decarbonise key sectors, and reach net zero through an integrated energy and transport hub.
It seeks to address barriers that have been identified so far in regulation, grid capacity, resources, behavioural change, and lack of data.
Forming part of the Islands Centre for Net Zero (ICNZ) programme, all organisations are partners in the new ten-year initiative that is set to begin this summer. Orkney also received funding through the programme, and the two islands’ projects will link through the new islands growth deal.
Successful projects from phase one of the net zero living programme will be invited to apply to phase two – which will fund up to six places with the potential of up to £5 million per project – to deliver their innovative net zero plans.
Moraig Lyall, chair of the Shetland Islands Council’s environment and transport committee, said, “The net zero route maps have increased our success at accessing funding, and it is great that we are moving into the action phase in working towards targets and realising our ambitions for Shetland’s future. Locally focused projects like the Shetland Rural Energy Hub will have many benefits for the Shetland community.”
Ian Johnstone, Aquatera director, added, “We are excited to be supporting Shetland Islands Council in the innovative Shetland rural energy hub project to explore the feasibility of delivering decarbonisations through a model of rural energy hubs. Shetland has been doing pioneering work in decarbonisation for years and this funding provides an important opportunity to draw on learning from previous projects, to consider solutions to overcome the non-technical barriers that have already been encountered and how we can then accelerate the route to net zero.”