Smart Island Energy Systems (SMILE)

Posted: 15 Jul 2019



Smart Island Energy Systems (SMILE)


4 year project (2017-2021)


£12m, European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme


To test smart grid systems in real-world environmental and operational conditions 


30 smart electric vehicle chargers and energy storage devices across 45 homes


900kW community wind turbine


0.5 MW

Orkney Project Partners


The Smart Islands Energy Systems (SMILE) is one of the biggest smart grid pilot projects in the world. The project is spread across three regions that share similar geography but are governed by different policies, regulations and energy markets: 

  • @Orkney (United Kingdom)
  • @Madeira (Portugal)
  • @Samsø (Denmark)

The collaboration involves nineteen partners from across Europe and is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme, under grant agreement No 73124.

The Challenge

Each region represents an important energy challenge that is common to several locations in Europe, on islands and the continent:

  • Orkney has some of the highest recorded levels of “fuel poverty” in the UK. 
  • Madeira is a total energy island, which means that it is not connected to any other landmass electrically. 
  • Samsø’s energy demand is dominated by the demand from berthed yachts and associated tourism causing high summer peaks.

The Orkney Islands are one of the windiest locations in the UK, and consequently offer huge potential for wind generation. More often than not , the wind turbines create too much energy for the capacity of the island and the interconnector to the mainland. Therefore, at times of strong winds, the turbines are switched off and wind generation is curtailed, resulting in a loss of valuable renewable energy. 


SMILE @Orkney aims to demonstrate how connecting smart domestic storage devices to an intelligent energy platform can optimise the efficiency and decarbonisation of the local grid. In this case, through maximising energy production from onshore wind turbines and preventing surplus energy going to waste through curtailment.   


Kaluza Optimisation

Using project ‘Heat Smart Orkney’ as a foundation, Kaluza will be integrating an extra 0.5 MW of storage capacity onto the smart grid. A total of 30 smart electric vehicle chargers, 45 domestic storage and low carbon heating devices will be installed and integrated onto the Kaluza platform. 

With these devices connected, Kaluza will intelligently control charging and storage behaviour to create flexibility for Orkney’s grid operators. By responding in real time to local energy demands, Kaluza optimises devices to import energy when renewable generation from the 900kW community turbine during off peak hours or when there is surplus wind generation, allowing residents to consume energy when needed and preventing wasteful wind curtailment. 


Across all three projects, SMILE technological solutions will assess the value of battery technology, power to heat, power to fuel, pumped hydro, electric vehicles, electricity stored on board of boats, an aggregator approach to demand side management (DSM) and a smart predictive algorithms in enhancing energy management on the local grid. 

Expected outcomes by project end, to have:  

  • Built experience in implementing new smart grid architecture in preparation for larger scale deployments 
  • Helped grid operators and suppliers understand the requirements for smart grid systems and improve their design
  • Helped propose innovative business models and regulations enabling the deployment of smart grid systems at acceptable costs for device owners, energy suppliers and operators

See more on the SMILE main website

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