Water from the Garmony hydro returns to the Allt Achadh na Moine burn

Water from the Garmony hydro returns to the Allt Achadh na Moine burn


The ACCESS model will enable new community and locally owned generation that otherwise could not connect to the grid.

ACCESS will create a new ‘virtual district heating’ option for customers who can’t connect to gas or conventional district heating networks.

ACCESS supports local and national economic development by creating new markets for locally generated electricity in grid constrained areas.

The project will trial a new system for balancing local renewable energy generation with local energy demand.

The field trial aspect of the project will be based on the Isle of Mull in Argyll and Bute.

The project will run for three years (April 15-April 18), with installations scheduled to commence in September 2015 and live generation following due to start from April 2017.

Project Aims

  1. To demonstrate real time balancing of renewable generation (a 400kW community owned hydro generator) and distributed demand from local homes and businesses.
  2. To develop an affordable network protection and communications system for enabling ‘non-firm’ grid access to transmission constrained generators.
  3. To engage with and provide benefit to local homes and businesses.
  4. To create the commercial arrangements required for future deployment and roll out (‘local heat tariffs’).

Project Vision

The ambition of ACCESS is to lay the foundations for something which does not yet exist in Scotland: a cost-effective platform for enabling the real time matching of local electricity generation and local electricity demand at a distribution network level.

ACCESS stands for “Assisting Communities to Connect to Electric Sustainable Sources” and we hope it will drive the development of financially viable grid connections for smaller scale generators (especially in transmission constrained areas of the Scottish networks) by matching the supply of electricity from renewable sources to the heating needs of local consumers.

ACCESS will build a framework for addressing two fundamental challenges:

  1. Maximising distributed generation in Scotland using existing networks and energy storage assets
  2. Reducing fuel poverty through affordable heating services to Scottish households and businesses currently heated by oil or conventional electric storage heaters.

Nearly 60% of the land area of Scotland is currently transmission constrained, meaning that only connections below 50 or 100kW are able to proceed rapidly.

According to the Scottish House Conditions Survey of 2012, overall fuel poverty in Scotland sits at 34%, rising to 40-50% for households heated by traditional electric systems, oil or LPG, and over 70% in some areas of the Highlands and Islands (Highlands and Islands Affordable Warmth Group).

Despite taking place on an island in a rural area, the Project Partners believe ACCESS has direct relevance to locations across Scotland, including urban areas (where many high rise properties use storage heating for safety reasons).

The ACCESS project will de-risk new technologies and develop financial models to allow roll-out to multiple sites across Scotland, reducing fuel poverty and supporting renewable energy.