Isle of Wight aims for net energy exports by 2020 in EcoIsland sustainability project
The Isle of Wight plans to become a net energy exporter of energy by 2020, while halving residents’ energy bills, eliminating waste going to landfill, and creating a significant number of green technology jobs. The EcoIsland initiative is the largest single sustainability project in the UK.
The Ecolsland Partnership Community Interest Company (CIC) has just been launched as a Global Innovation Centre for Smart Grid technology, in an event at the Houses of Parliament in London. This shows how – working with global partners IBM and Toshiba – it plans to integrate the island’s future wind, tidal, geothermal, and solar power generation.
The Smart Grid initiative is one of the key ingredients in the Isle of Wight’s aim to become the first truly sustainable region in the UK, in powering the island’s future energy needs.
The EcoIsland project is a high-profile working example of UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s ‘Big Society’ concept of how communities can take the initiative to improve life in their locality.
“Our global launch is living proof of how the ‘Big Society’ concept is workable when a local community and private business combine their resources and expertise,’ says David Green, Chief Executive of the EcoIsland CIC. ‘The Isle of Wight community needs to act quickly to avert the possibility of blackouts from increased demands on the UK’s electricity generation capacity.’
Mr Green continues: ‘We are looking to use the Island’s natural resources to make it self-sufficient in terms of energy, food, water, fuel, and waste – enabling the community to take its destiny back into its own hands.”
EcoIsland initiatives already under way include reducing energy bills for the Isle of Wight’s 142 000 residents by 50 percent through increased capture and use of solar, tidal, geothermal, and wind power and a creative tariff system. It will also cut landfill to zero, and stop waste being transported off the island.
In addition, the project will fuel the green economy by creating jobs on the island – something of an employment black spot in the South East – through green tech investment, and setting up an Eco Centre and seat of learning for residents, visitors, and for schools across the country.