Energy Island: How Orkney Remote Experiments Could Bring Clean Renewable Energy to Southeast Asia


Everything in this closed-loop “living laboratory” is designed to be replicated elsewhere on the islands and in coastal environments, once the technology has been proven.

According to Sandy Kerr, director of the International Center for Island Technology at the Orkney campus of Heriot-Watt University, the prevailing general attitudes of islanders to unique challenges can help them tackle this decarbonization problem.

So while Orkney might seem completely remote and remote from the small islands of Southeast Asia, there are many commonalities to build on.

“Because we’re small and it gives us the flexibility to change, maybe we can be quick and move faster than large metropolitan areas,” Kerr said.

“But I also think that Islanders themselves are inherently systemic thinkers. If you live on a small island, you know where your energy is coming from, you understand transport links, you know where your water is coming from, you understand the island’s life support system in such a way that if you live in town, you probably don’t.

“Strangely enough, we all face similar problems. We are at the end of long supply chains and we are too dependent on diesel. We have to deal with the intermittence of renewables and relatively small power systems, ”he said.

“And we all need to decarbonise ourselves. There is no miracle solution. So we can learn from each other.

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