Smart Islands is a major programme of interconnected projects that aims to support the community on Scilly in moving towards a low-carbon future with sustainable energy, water, sewage and waste management.
This is what the project aims to achieve:
- Reduce electricity bills by 40% by 2025 – this will be achieved by reducing how much energy we use and utilising renewable energy produced on Scilly, distributed through an innovative community venture and local energy tariff
- Generate 40% of the Islands’ electricity by renewables by 2025 – through a combination of solar, energy from waste and potentially wave, wind or tidal
- Transition to 40% of vehicles being low carbon or electric by 2025 – installing infrastructure to support electric vehicles
- Manage waste and sewage locally and sustainably – by treating food and other organic wastes in an energy from waste plant on St Mary’s
- Raise aspirations and provide opportunities – links with Five Islands School, provide training and job opportunities, create links with Universities
- Become an environmentally aware and responsible tourism destination – building new momentum and adding credibility to Scilly’s identity and positioning
Both public and private investment will support the programme in achieving its aims, for the benefit of the community. Businesses are already being supported to improve their energy efficiency, but can now also be supported financially to make their buildings more energy efficient and instal renewable energy infrastructure.
Electric vehicle charging points will help those who want to invest in an electric vehicle in the future. Electric cars and vans will be cheap to run and could be powered entirely by renewable energy, making them almost zero carbon. Low mileage trips and low speeds make the Islands an ideal location for the use of electric vehicles. The benefits of all the energy and profits from the projects will be captured for the community through a not-for-profit community venture. This will result in islanders benefiting from a competitively priced, low carbon electricity tariff.
Smart Energy Islands, run by Hitachi, is the first of the programme and is underway. It will deliver: a ‘smart grid’ to manage the Islands’ energy demand and supply; improve business productivity by reducing energy costs for around 200 businesses; instal solar panels and/or improve the efficiency of 100 Council-owned homes; and instal almost 450kW of photovoltaic systems (solar power). It also offers potential cultural exchanges and training opportunities for young people.
The other parts of the project – renewable installations, energy from waste, electric vehicles, and the community venture will become reality over the next three years. Future opportunities for Smart Islands include interest from wave and tidal power producers, opportunities for testing e-health products in the South West, and collaboration with Universities in the region.
The programme is being delivered through a partnership of: The Duchy of Cornwall, Tresco Estate, Council of the Isles of Scilly, Hitachi Europe Ltd and the Islands' Partnership.