UK Energy Minister highlights smart grid solutions at Ecoislands Summit

October 18th, 2012 by Ecoisland

John Hayes, Minister of State for Energy, addresses the Ecoislands summit (click image to expand - image courtesy of ecoislands)

John Hayes, the Minister of State for Energy, provided the keynote address at the Ecoislands Global Summit 2012, which was sponsored by IBM and supported by Cable&Wireless Worldwide.

John Hayes addressed an audience of community leaders, islands representatives, sustainability experts, UK government ministers, and technology companies. He spoke about the role that local initiatives play in promoting resource security through sustainability and smarter resource management.

“I am delighted to be here,” he said. “The Isle of Wight is the birthplace of the Ecoislands concept, and I am proud that it has taken the lead in this major new international movement,” the Energy Minister said.

Ecoislands’ flagship project on the Isle of Wight will see the creation of a virtual power plant, integrating renewable generation assets with demand side resources to create an energy balancing system.

The intention is to guarantee security of supply and enable the community to benefit from an optimised energy infrastructure.

The Minister of State for Energy paid particular attention to the smart grid solutions being pioneered on the island, discussing the role smart infrastructure will play in integrating the new diverse generation mix whilst maintaining reliability and minimising the impact on bills.

Mr Hayes spoke about the role that government has to play in promoting smart grids including setting up the Smart Grid Forum to draw together expertise and overcome the barriers to deployment, the UK Government’s commitment to smart meter roll out in homes and business, and Ofgem’s Low Carbon Network Fund that has made £500 million available to network companies to trial new technologies and approaches.

The Minister also welcomed the “bottom-up” approach pioneered by Ecoislands which empowers local communities to drive forward solutions that best meet their needs.

“The Ecoislands approach is about local people taking control of their own futures by making the ambitious commitment to living within their means – giving themselves more secure supplies of energy and, in time, lowering their bills,” he said.

The Minister’s speech was followed by industry speakers representing leading technology companies, energy companies, sustainability experts, and entrepreneurs who will share expertise and experience from the Isle of Wight project with islands and regional delegates from across the UK and beyond.

The summit culminated with many of these communities signing the Ecoislands Accord, making a public commitment to achieving renewable energy self-sufficiency by 2020 and sustainability by 2030.

Please read the article by James Murray in Business Green and the article by John Vidal in The Guardian for more information.


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