Through the £335 million Islands Deal, Orkney, Shetland and the Outer Hebrides will come together for the first time to undertake a cross-sectoral programme for businesses, universities, communities, and local government.

The local authorities for Orkney, Shetland and the Outer Hebrides are leading the decarbonisation across our communities. Achieving net zero, in real partnership with our business, innovation and community sectors, will be a key feature across the Islands Deal.

ICNZ will be a physical and virtual network of locations, employing skilled people living and working across the islands, operating from local bases which are also linked through the Islands Deal in Shetland, the Outer Hebrides, and Orkney and coordinated from the Orkney Research and Innovation Campus (ORIC).

ICNZ is a unique interdisciplinary consortium, bringing global expertise together with local experience, knowledge and connections. The Centre will be built upon world leading capabilities within EMEC (Project Lead), Heriot Watt University, the University of the Highlands and Islands, Community Energy Scotland, Aquatera, the public sector and a range of other expert organisations across our communities.

UK Government is investing £16 million and the Scottish Government is investing £500,000 in ICNZ through the Islands Growth Deal.

Islands Deal Website


The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC)

Established in 2003, the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) Ltd is the world’s first and leading facility for demonstrating and testing wave and tidal energy converters – technologies that generate electricity by harnessing the power of waves and tidal streams – in the sea. EMEC is also pioneering the development of a green hydrogen economy and smart local energy systems. As part of the ICNZ partnership, EMEC will be focused on administration and management of the project, knowledge exchange and communications, raising additional funds and leveraging the capabilities of the key ICNZ tools and resources for specific transition projects.

EMEC website

Heriot-Watt University

Heriot-Watt University will lead on the Transition Labs where the focus will be on research into what is not currently known or understood related to the energy transition and sharing the learnings. This will be based around the development of a comprehensive modelling and community planning capability in all three islands.

Heriot-Watt University website

Community Energy Scotland

Community Energy Scotland will work on community hubs to represent a network of facilities hosted in existing community anchor organisations across our island communities. They will serve as open and independent knowledge, toolkit and support resources, and points of contact and access, to allow organisations and individuals the resources needed to research, organise and undertake inclusive decarbonisation actions within their own communities.

Community Energy Scotland website


Aquatera will lead on the data exchange, a state of the art computing, database, knowledge transfer and simulation visualisation facility. The Data Exchange will be located within the ICNZ Centre in Orkney, with local access points in the Shetland and Outer Hebrides ICNZ Centres where the main data, knowledge sharing and simulation facilities can be connected. This will hold the carbon measurement and reporting tools for all three islands.

Aquatera website

Orkney Islands Council, Shetland Islands Council and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar

The island councils will work on Transition Projects in Shetland, Orkney and the Outer Hebrides which will be developed out of the ICNZ processes. As successful transition projects are carried out the team will work with a range of partners to replicate and scale up the solutions.

Orkney Islands Council website

Shetland Islands Council website

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar website