From left TV presenter Quentin Wilson, Minister of state for energy and climate change John Hayes, with CEO of Ecoisland David Green and Isle of Wight MP Andrew Turner. Picture by Laura Holme.
ENERGY minister John Hayes proved a turn-off at the first Global Ecoislands Summit this week.
With the click of a mouse, the newly appointed minister of state for energy switched off a heater, a fridge and an electric vehicle charger in three Isle of Wight homes several miles away.
Mr Hayes was taking part in a demonstration of an ambitious 'smart grid’ system, backed by multinationals such as IBM, Cable & Wireless and Toshiba, which could slash consumers’ energy bills while helping to save the planet.
The experiment showed delegates from more than 30 islands and regions who attended the summit, at Cowes Yacht Haven, how people could soon be turning off their immersion heaters, dimming their lights or putting their computers on stand-by remotely from an iPad or smart phone 'app’, cutting power use.
The app could also show how people are using their energy and where savings could be made.
Delegates heard consumers could even opt to hand over control of some of their home appliances to the National Grid, which faces a daily balancing act of ensuring demand for electricity matches supply.
Homeowners would be able to over-ride the system at any time to ensure it did not switch off anything essential.
Giving the keynote address of the two-day summit, Mr Hayes, who arrived in a hydrogen-powered car, said the Island’s plans to deploy smart grid technologies and locally-owned renewables projects gave a template that could be replicated around the world.
The summit, attended by community leaders and technology giants, provided an opportunity for communities from as far afield as Tobago, Bornholm in Denmark and 15 Scottish islands to share ideas about self-sufficiency and sustainability and see the Isle of Wight’s Ecoisland project.
It included the signing of the Ecoislands’ Accord — a commitment to become clean energy self-sufficient by 2020 — and the launch of the Ecoislands’ anthem by Ecoislands’ ambassador Derek Sandy, beamed live into the room from Tobago, via Skype.
David Green, Ecoislands founder and chief executive, said: "Often it is the smallest places that can demonstrate the greatest change and it is time our political leaders took note the people want change."
• Next year’s summit is due to be held in Bornholm.