The ORION (Opportunity Renewables Integration Offshore Networks) project was launched in April 2020 when Shetland Island Council (SIC) and the OGTC formed a strategic partnership to work on an energy hub concept with Highland & Islands Enterprise (HIE), government and industry. Strathclyde University joined in May 2021 as a strategic partner.

Shetland has all the critical ingredients of clean energy provision There is significant onshore and offshore wind and tidal resource; strategically important hydrocarbon resource; established oil and gas infrastructure; and a knowledgeable and skilled local workforce.

The aim of ORION is threefold:-

  • To enable offshore oil and gas sector transition to net zero by electrification, utilising initially onshore and then offshore wind, sustaining thousands of jobs and security of supply.

  • To transform Shetland's current dependency on fossil fuels to affordable renewable energy to address fuel poverty and improve community wealth.

  • To create a green hydrogen export business on Shetland at industrial scale by harnessing offshore wind power and creating new jobs.

ORION has set several ambitious targets by 2050. These include abating 8mT/year of CO2 from offshore oil and gas production; supplying 32TWh of low carbon hydrogen annually - 12% of UK expected requirement; and generating more than 3GW of wind. The annual revenue generated by the project by 2050 would be around £5Bn per annum and provide sustainable employment, both locally and regionally, for 1750 people.

Techno-economic screening is currently underway, and several individual opportunities are undergoing concept and feasibility analysis.

The ORION project is transformational, on both a local and regional scale, positioning Shetland as one of the first green energy islands in the UK.

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