Its vision is transformative and will place Shetland at the heart of cutting-edge clean energy developments, create a highly skilled workforce in the isles, and provide economic security for years to come.
ORION is a strategic framework that aims to shape Shetland as a world leading green energy island.
Shetland has played a prominent role in UK energy since the 1970s – with significant infrastructure built at the Sullom Voe Oil Terminal, the Shetland Gas Plant in the North Mainland, and at Lerwick Harbour in the central part of the isles.
But as the world shifts away from fossil fuels in the face of climate change, Shetland must adapt too. That is where ORION comes in.
As a catalyst for change, ORION will encourage collaboration with Shetland stakeholders and projects with a net zero focus to help generate clean, affordable power, help eradicate fuel poverty, protect the environment, and provide job opportunities throughout the isles’ supply chain.
The idea of developing a Shetland energy hub was first promoted by the Oil & Gas Authority (OGA) in 2018 and the project has developed rapidly since then.
By January 2020, Shetland Islands councillors had approved plans to set up and fund a three-year project to explore the opportunities linked to a renewable energy hub. By spring 2020 that project had been named ORION (Opportunity for Renewable Integration with Offshore Networks).
The project has brought together UK and Scottish government agencies, regulators, industry stakeholders, and other key organisations to develop a far-reaching clean energy plan for Shetland and the wider region.
The next chapter
ORION aims to harness the natural resources of Shetland – onshore and offshore wind, tidal and wave energy – to generate hydrogen and enable the electrification of oil and gas installations to reduce emissions and create a sustainable and affordable clean energy future.
- Provide affordable clean energy for Shetland, Scotland, the UK and Europe
- Create and sustain high-tech jobs and supply chain opportunities
- Secure a prosperous economic future for Shetland for decades to come
ORION continues to gather pace and the project aims to develop, embracing cutting-edge technology to make Shetland carbon neutral by 2030 and harness the enthusiasm of the younger generation to make a clean-energy future a reality.
Partners in ORION include Shetland Islands Council (SIC), Net Zero Technology Centre, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and the University of Strathclyde.
The joint project team has been actively pursuing the opportunities since April 2020 at a time when the general interest in future clean energy use and resources soared.
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