Energy Island Research
Energy is essential to provide our daily needs and power economic activity. However, our current energy systems are primarily fossil fuel based, contributing to more than 50% of global GHG emissions. Many places are reliant on imported energy, leading to a flow of wealth out of the local economy, as well as reduced resilience.
These dynamics are particularly visible in islands, where the technical constraints that islands face are often met with ingenuity and innovation. We wanted to explore how island thinking can promote creativity in a context which is not quite an island – the peninsula of Cornwall. As an example of an ‘island’ connected to the ‘mainland’, the learning from the Cornwall context can be transferred both to mainland situations and to true islands.
To develop an Energy Island project in Cornwall, we set up a self-funded partnership with the Eden Project, and worked closely with the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Cornwall Council and others. We provided a neutral platform for local people to explore the future of Cornwall’s energy landscape, in a two-day workshop held at the Eden Project. By using the Energy Island metaphor, Cornwall can improve its economy by becoming self-sufficient in energy and exporting surplus to the ‘mainland’.
We have produced two publications from this work:
- The Energy Island Outcomes and Actions for Cornwall, a concise summary of the findings of the event and the implications for Cornwall.
- An Energy Island White Paper, detailing our Energy Island approach, which can be adapted to co-design of regional infrastructure systems for the 21st Century around the world.
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