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Heriot-Watt team develops digital twin for Orkney energy


Mark Say Managing Editor

A team from Heriot-Watt University is developing a digital twin to map out the energy system of the Orkney Islands.

Stromness, Orkney

It is working on a demonstrator to help the public on the islands understand what can be achieved through new energy networks using different technologies and digitally controlled through a 5G infrastructure.

The demonstrator will involve a virtual 3D environment of Orkney and the different components of its energy system, extending to domestic batteries, generators and turbines and taking in electric vehicles. It will also include a virtual dashboard outlining key features and the model of a 5G data connection to energy assets on the islands.

David Richardson, chief entrepreneurial executive at Heriot-Watt, said the digital twin will show how the new energy network will operate. It will run as a distributed system of small scale power generation and storage technologies.

Engagement tool

“It will be an engagement tool that helps people understand how they can get involved in helping the island maximise renewable energy and, ultimately, achieve a carbon neutral future,” he said.

“The system will show people what can be taken from the virtual world and made into a physical reality, helping communities to flourish with the use of renewable technology.”

The project is expected to last three months and builds on the 5G RuralFirst initiative already undertaken on Orkney.

One of The Scotland 5G Centre’s flagship projects, Scotland 5G Rural Testbed - led by the University of Strathclyde and Cisco - is providing a testbed on Orkney for a series of trials around usage.

Image by Reading Tom, CC BY 2.0

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