Energy Island conversations begin with a bang
Sir Tim Smit, Co-Founder of the Eden Project, on energy independence for Cornwall: “If you were the king of an island dependent on something crucial to your wellbeing that comes from outside your shores, would the evidence of history support this as a sound strategy for national security? If not, what would you do to put your security in your own hands?”
Frustrated by lack of progress on UK energy policy, BuroHappold Engineering’s head of Energy Consulting, Gavin Thompson, is seeking pioneering ways to do something about it. In a first for the international engineering practice, Gavin and his team partnered with the world renowned Eden Project to bring together some of the UK’s brightest energy and environment minds to explore whether a bottom up process of decarbonising energy in the UK could be the answer.
Over 150 stakeholders including transmission and distribution operators, regulators, investors, suppliers, local businesses and industry, community groups, academics, technology companies, the Local Enterprise Partnership and county council gathered over the two day event to debate, consider, learn and engage to achieve one goal: to consider whether it is possible to create an energy independent county.
Cornwall with its abundance of sun, sea, wind and land is, from an engineering perspective, a perfect choice. Judging from the feedback from local community groups and businesses, they agree.
From the opening remarks by Sir Tim Smit, Co-Founder of the Eden Project who spoke with passion about Cornwall’s ‘Island’ nature, it seemed that this event was more than a conference, it was a chance for people: individuals, businesses, energy providers, utilities, public sector organisations and environmental engineers to start making a difference.
A mass of data was produced, coming from those who will directly benefit from energy independence. BuroHappold will mine this data to produce a variety of reports, plans and actions that Cornwall can take to achieve energy independence.
Cornwall Energy Island isn’t the end. It is the beginning of something vital: a chance for Cornwall to transform its economy completely and become energy independent by investing in managing its own energy supply and demand. Why? Because the majority of the £1.8bn that annually comes into the county from tourism goes straight back out to keep the lights on, keep the traffic moving, and its economy struggling along.
This conference came to one conclusion. It doesn’t have to be that way. Cornwall really could organise itself, to build on the great progress to date to be totally energy independent. It can lead the UK out of the darkness of relying on other countries for our energy.
For all the content from the event, a short write up and next steps, please visit the EnergyIsland web page.
To watch the video click here