Community Energy Scotland features at Eco Islands World Summit
The Eco Islands Global Summit is making news this week, and Community Energy Scotland’s Policy and Innovation Manager, Felix Wight, was a guest speaker.
The event brought together island communities and innovators from around the world. The focus was the Isle of Wight, with most events happening around Cowes.
An island is like a world in microcosm. Island communities are test beds for energy innovation and sustainability. I was proud to relate what Scottish island communities are doing across the whole gamut of energy issues. Community owned turbines are generating power from renewable resources – as on Gigha, Tiree and now on Lewis. In Orkney and in Shetland we are active in grid management innovation with the NINES project and the Orkney RPZ. Like the Isle of Islay, the Isle of Wight stakeholders and consumers are working to reduce the peaks and troughs of demand, to allow a cleverer balance of generation plant.
John Hayes MP, UK Minister of State for Energy addressed the event and commented that it was community action in terms of renewable generation, better transmission and wise use that would result in the most beneficial changes the way we meet our energy needs. John Hayes advocated community ownership and community led approaches to our energy future. The event also engaged large scale businesses in meeting new energy objectives, including the local grid operator Scottish and Southern Energy.
A highlight of the event was a hydrogen car. An electrolyser isolates hydrogen from water, which is then used in a Hyundai Sports Utility Vehicle. Hyundai plan to manufacture 10,000 of these hydrogen Fuel Cell Cars. The car was driven by motoring journalist Quentin Wilson, who remarked on its excellent performance. Felix Wight commented
Hydrogen can be produced using electricity from intermittent renewable energy generation and then stored until needed. Hydrogen storage is an effective way of using surplus power to create a valuable fuel that can be used at any time.
There was intense interest in the ground-breaking grid management work and community owned generation that was on the go on Scotland. Government support, industry involvement and the mandate and impetus of community activism are clearly the three essential elements to ensure an improvement in the way we generate, transmit and use power not only on islands, but globally.