The notion that islands can be self sufficient has been around for quite a while. In 1990, a Danish island, Samsø, which has about 43,000 inhabitants, invested heavily in solar and wind technology. Now, not only is the island completely self sufficient, but also exports power to the mainland, which has greatly benefited the economy. It brings in about $7.3 million dollars of revenue a year. This has sparked a movement of other islands aiming to be self sufficient. Many are investing in renewable self sufficiency projects. This is very good for all islands, but especially for those far away from the mainland. Islands usually have to rely on shipments of oil for electricity, which can be polluting in more ways than one.
Inspired by this, The Isle of Wight, probably best known for its pop music festivals, will hopefully be known as England’s first Eco Island. Ecoisland is an effort to turn the Isle of Wight into a test bed for green technology in the hopes of making the Isle of Wight a self sufficient oasis of renewable energy by 2020. The project already has at least 70 major corporate partners who are eager to test some of their environmental innovations to a real world test.
The idea to Ecoisland was inspired by people who live on boats around the island and sometimes have to be self sustainable for weeks at a time. The project encourages sustainable food and water initiatives, but the major thrust is to generate 60.5 megawatts of energy using solar, tidal, wind, and other renewable energy sources. The Isle of Wight is sufficiently close to the mainland that it can draw most of the power it needs from the mainland. There is also a natural gas fired back up plant, which is being decommissioned. The largest share of clean power is to be solar powered, which will be installed in homes and businesses. Also in the works is tidal power. Tidal power is still in its infancy compared to other renewables, but islands are promising territory.
With 65,000 houses, Eco Island expects to have 90% of them using renewable energy. As an incentive for customers are lower bills, and the project will also cut energy costs in half.