For inhabitants of the Isles of Scilly, a remote and sprawling archipelago 28 miles off England’s Cornish coast, the transition to sustainable energy is changing everything. A small population of 2,200 residents lives on just five of the 145 islands that comprise England’s rugged Isles of Scilly. Only a small proportion of the energy they use was generated locally, with much of their fuel brought in by sea, driving up the cost. When a ship’s anchor broke the islands’ undersea power cable in 2017, it brought their energy vulnerability into sharp focus. Under an innovative partnership project—part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund—the solution was a sustainable one. Solar panels were installed on buildings, while homes and public buildings piloted a variety of energy technologies, such as heat pumps and storage batteries, to increase local renewable energy capacity. The new technology is connected through an Internet of Things (IoT) system that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to optimize the distribution of power from low-carbon energy generation. The target is to ensure that by 2025, 40% of the islanders’ energy comes from renewable sources and is efficiently produced and stored, while reducing energy bills by 40%. Life on the islands is being transformed, but the significance of the project goes beyond this unique haven in the Atlantic. Updating energy infrastructure with the latest renewable technology is a blueprint for the future of power generation worldwide. The Isles of Scilly’s local authority has partnered with Hitachi to provide the IoT and AI infrastructure at the heart of the project, and both are working closely with smart home technology companies. As the world looks to sharply reduce carbon emissions in the new era of global cooperation, such public-private partnerships are vital to solve some the world’s most pressing problems, from climate change to health-care challenges.
Bloomberg 28th Jan 2021 read more »