Many islands function asincubators for innovation. Necessity Is the mother of innovation, so many islanders have long had to make do. Scotland’s far north is home to some of the weather in Europe, which can also be seen as a chance. From the high winds to the large waves which sculpt Orkney’s shore, the potential for renewable energy appears to be endless.
Located in the stormy waters of the North Atlantic, Orkney creates a case study that is particularly compelling. As Watts explains: “People living on the edge have to be significantly more mindful of their infrastructures of transport, or of energy — they can’t take everything for granted. You’ve got to be innovative in the sense that you need to improvise.” In Orkney’s case, the islands have utilized their unique geographical position from the North Sea since the foundation for energy creation.
The Orkney Islands are a test site for renewable energy production for over 50 years. Orkney is home to 700 micro wind turbines in Addition to the European Marine Energy Centre’s (EMEC) Which runs a number of the world’s top research in wave power. The islands are able to create up to 120 percent of the total annual electricity needs from renewable energy, so although they do occasionally trust the mainland to fill-in on calm, windless days.
The electricity grid infrastructure has been made to distribute Electricity from fossil fuel power stations that are to meet with demand around Scotland. It wasnot designed with the anticipation of islands generating their own power and sending it back to the mainland. Updating the cables so Orkney could export more excess electricity could cost tens of thousands, and it’s money not currently available to the neighborhood.
This is driving innovation in different uses for the excess power. One job stores electricity as hydrogen fuel that then powers some of these islands’ numerous ferry services. The flights that connect the many islands of Orkney will be electric-powered by 2021 and several Orcadians utilize electric vehicles that run much cheaper than conventional gas resources. As Watts points out:”The energy future has arrived in Orkney.”
The power revolution reshaping the archipelago is being mirrored on other islands worldwide. Samsø in Denmark is another major example of island innovation — changing itself at a carbon-negative community within just a decade and enabling islanders to shape their own energy future. From the Pacific, the isolated nation of Tokelau transitioned Out of a grid reliant entirely on diesel generators into solar plus storage which now provides the island with all of its daily electric needs. A variety of Caribbean islands have also embraced smart-grids and renewable energy in an attempt to become more resilient and sustainable, while Europe appears to its own islands since the blueprint for a sustainable future on the mainland.
As Watts emphasises, The world stands to profit from the wisdom and innovation that are being developed on these islands at the edge of the planet:”We will need to work in collaboration with those islanders to figure out how they are performing the innovation they’re creating at the border. So that we can spend how can we listen to them, how do we learn from them. Places like Orkney have this wonderful renewable energy source which we all desperately want for our low-carbon future, thus we will need to move that we must collaborate, we must learn from what they’re doing.”
In Energy In The End Of The World, Watts exemplifies how Orkney was a source of innovation. Despite being nestled in Scotland’s far north, the archipelago has witnessed its share of historical events, with Neolithic settlements serving as a sign of how long islanders have called the region home — and also how they have innovated all the way from the Stone Age to now being in the forefront of low-carbon technology. The history that Orkney is steeped in illustrates how island communities globally have survived hardships through innovation and resilience.
Developments in mathematics, medicine, Engineering and the arts are often connected with places like Silicon Valley, Cambridge, the Sorbonne or Verona. But, islands continue to innovate, often away from the bright lights and focus of those major hubs, as Watts puts it:”When people consider future technologies or innovation, they assume it’s all got to be happening in cities. But this revolution — in renewable energy — is being done at a place that lies at the very edge of the nation.”
The energy revolution is global and Isn’t only happening in cities, with some of those biggest gifts Into the renewable energy and sustainable growth fields Islands and remote communities. Orkney is just one of many Examples of the way the future of sustainable and power development has Been created by islands and, as Watts asserts, we could learn a great deal from them. Islands transitioning away from fossil-fuel reliance towards Assessing grids of the future might serve as The blueprint for developments in major cities internationally.