CleanTech Forum – 22 August 2019

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Last fortnight the Business Agency, the Department for Food and Agriculture (DEFA), Manx Utilities and University College Isle of Man hosted a CleanTech forum, bringing together private and public sector stakeholders to share knowledge and to update each other on the activities and progress in this fast-evolving sector.

Dr Ken Milne, Director of Energy Policy for the Department for Food and Agriculture (DEFA) led the forum’s discussions by outlining the wide variety of initiatives currently being undertaken by DEFA. These include the energy efficiency grants for the distribution of LED light bulbs and financial support towards an air tightness test.

In addition to the initiatives that DEFA are already progressing, they are also holding the Retrofit for the Future Home ideas competition. The competition, closing 15th November, is looking for original ideas for improving the energy performance of our houses, where the winner will receive £5000 prize and a 3D printed small scale model of their design or concept. These ideas, along with the Climate Change Mitigation Strategy consultation, will help the Island shape its future policies. Some of the consultation’s outcomes have already been set into motion with the introduction of a Manx Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) rating planned to start on 1st January 2020 with the aim that all new-builds will be ‘Carbon Neutral’ within the next decade.

The forum also heard from STEP student, Tom Downey, who undertook a project to ascertain the size of the CleanTech industry in the Isle of Man and the opportunities and barriers for growth in the sector. The results from Tom’s work surveying local businesses suggest the sector is projected to grow considerably in the next 12 months; the majority of that growth coming from the construction industry. Additional feedback Tom has received indicates that financing of Cleantech projects is a key concern of stakeholders.

Strategy and Business Development manager at Manx Utilities, Dr Richard Bujko, joined the CleanTech Forum to discuss SMART meters, Grid Infrastructure, and the status of the Electric Vehicle Charging Network. He also explored future developments with the forum, including progress with the Isle of Man heat pump trial.

The forum was concluded by Geoff Chatwood, the Vice Principal of University College Isle of Man. Geoff outlined to the forum the opportunities to create bespoke training courses with UCM, who have previously created a range of flexible and custom-built programmes for various other sectors. A similar initiative could be used in the Cleantech sector to bridge skills gaps and ensure the sector continues to go from strength to strength.

The next CleanTech forum will be held on 13 November 2019. For further information on how the Business Agency can help you in the Energy and CleanTech sector, please contact Business Development Manager, Kirree Gooberman.


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