Almost £3 million has been earmarked to support a pioneering project to transform infrastructure on the Isles of Scilly and support local growth.
The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has agreed in principle to invest up to £2.95 million in the Smart Islands programme on the Isles of Scilly.
Smart Islands is a partnership project designed to tackle the challenges of sustaining a remote island community by moving towards a low carbon economy. It is taking a fundamentally different and innovative approach to energy, water and waste services to pilot new models that will be scalable to other rural communities and cities across the world.
The LEP’s contribution would come from the Government’s Local Growth Fund, which is investing over £70 million through the ‘Growth Deal’ programme to improve infrastructure and grow the economy of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
Because of its potential as a national exemplar project, Smart Islands has been singled out as one of just a handful of case studies nationwide to feature in the Government’s Industrial Strategy White Paper, which has been published today (Nov 27).
Minister for Local Growth, Jake Berry, said: “This is an exciting example of a Local Enterprise Partnership using Government’s Growth Deal funding to deliver savings for local people and businesses and offering environmental benefits. It also shows that innovation is not confined to big cities and I hope it develops into a model that other places can use in future.”
LEP chairman, Mark Duddridge, added: “Smart Islands is creating a learning laboratory that we hope will serve as a model for the rest of the UK and beyond.
“It is melding cutting-edge digital technology with renewable energy generation and storage to tackle some of the biggest challenges facing the world today. It will bring huge benefits to the island community in terms of reduced costs and carbon emissions, and cater for future sustainable growth.”
Commenting on the publication of the Industrial Strategy today, he added: “The Industrial Strategy will be vital to closing our productivity gap with other parts of the UK and the world, and issues such as clean growth and an ageing population are hugely relevant to our economy.
“We will be studying the White Paper closely and look forward to the LEP playing a lead role with our partners in delivering a Local Industrial Strategy for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.”
The Smart Islands programme aims to transform the islands’ infrastructure, including the creation of a local energy market with an ‘Internet of Things’ platform that will control energy loads in houses, businesses, electric vehicles and other connected infrastructure. Its goal is to provide 40% of electricity demand using renewables, to cut electricity bills by 40%, and for 40% of vehicles on the islands to be electric or low-carbon – all by 2025.
It also aims to provide sewage treatment, waste disposal and energy from waste facilities to replace outdated and expensive systems which are burdening the islands with significant costs and hindering future growth ambitions.
The project is being delivered through a partnership that includes Hitachi Europe Ltd, Tresco Estate, the Council of the Isles of Scilly, the Islands’ Partnership and the Duchy of Cornwall, with UK smart energy businesses, Moixa Technology and PassivSystems, as project partners.