Launch of Horizon 2020 project “ROBINSON”

Developing Integrated Energy Solutions to Decarbonise Islands

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and the University of the Highlands and Islands’ Environmental Research Institute (ERI) have teamed up to participate in the recently launched EU Horizon 2020 project “ROBINSON – Smart integration of local energy sources and innovative storage for flexible, secure and cost-efficient energy supply on industrialized islands.”

The four year project will aim to develop an integrated energy system to help decarbonise islands.  Project partners will work together to develop and deploy an integrated, smart and cost-efficient energy system coupling thermal and electrical networks, which will optimise the utilisation of local renewable energy sources. The system will be demonstrated on the island of Eigerøy (Norway), and replication studies of the Energy Management System (EMS) developed through the project will be conducted in both the Outer Hebrides and Crete.

The ROBINSON EMS will ensure an efficient and smart integration of all distributed energy resources (DER), energy surpluses, and storage capacities available on the island, while considering demand-side response, power balancing, weather forecast and market-related costs. This integrated system will ensure a reliable, cost-efficient and resilient energy supply contributing to the decarbonisation of the European islands by helping to decrease CO2 emissions.

Cllr Uisdean Robertson welcomed the Comhairle’s involvement in this new project, “Our islands have benefited significantly in engaging with EU projects and partners over the years.  The challenges of ensuring clean, secure and cost-effective supplies of energy are shared across European islands. We look forward to benefiting from the learning from this project which aligns well with the Comhairle’s own vision to decrease our islands’ dependency on fossil fuels and become increasingly energy self-sufficient. We were delighted to be approached by the ERI to become a partner in the consortium following the Comhairle’s successful implementation of the Outer Hebrides Local Energy Hub project at Creed.”

Professor Stuart Gibb, leader of UHI’s Environmental Research Institute (ERI) said “Island communities often get a rough deal when it comes to energy cost, even where renewable energy resources such as wind, solar, biomass and others are plentiful. We hope the ROBINSON project can help to resolve this whilst delivering multiple benefits to local communities and also avoiding damage to the local environment. Through close working with the Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and the communities of the Western Isles we hope that this project can have direct beneficial impacts and help Scotland transition to a low carbon future.”

18 partners from 10 different European countries are involved in ROBINSON and the consortium includes academic, private sector and public partners.