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News blog21 April 20231 min read

SMILE Project: Smart grid solutions for Energy Efficiency on Islands

SMILE Project: Smart grid solutions for Energy Efficiency on Islands

The Smart Islands Energy Systems (SMILE) project will develop nine smart grid solutions in three large-scale pilot projects in different regions of Europe with similar topographic characteristics but different policies: Orkney in the UK, Samsø in Denmark and Madeira in Portugal. The project has a duration of 4 years and represents a total of €14 million. The end goal of the project is to foster the market introduction of these nine technologies.

Across the sites, technological solutions will be applied where most appropriate, such as for example the integration of battery technology, power to heat, pumped hydro or smart charging for electrical vehicles. The objective is to test solutions while establishing mutual learning processes and providing best practice guidance for replication in other regions.

In Orkney, one main challenge relates with fuel poverty ( household having to spend more than 10% of its income on heating) in the UK. Despite the high levels of renewable generation, electricity demand tariffs are above the UK average, and many homes are heated by oil or solid fuel. Orkney is also highly dependent on both ferry transport and imported fuel for farming, fisheries and local road transport. The goal of the pilot is to address existing energy challenges by integrating a new Demand Side Management system with the existing smart generation grid.  SMILE therefore particularly focuses on making local demand more efficient and smarter to deliver affordable heat to domestic households, help reduce curtailment of local community renewable generation and utilise community hydrogen assets. Community Energy Scotland is one of the actors involved in the project. Local partners are installing established heating and energy storage technologies that are linked up in a ‘grid-smart’ manner, including heat pumps, electric batteries, hydrogen electrolysisor smart Electrical Vehicles chargers. The Orkney Islands now generate more than 100% of electricity demand by renewable energy and have an operational smart grid.

Read more about the SMILE project and its implementation on Samsø Island here


Publication date
21 April 2023