Millerslocal is stoked to announce that many years of hard work has finally paid off!
What started as an idea 5 years ago whilst on a surf trip in the Maldives has finally come to fruition. Back in 2005 I got sucked backwards through a reef pass whilst out surfing a spot down south. In between wondering how the hell I was going to get myself out of the situation, I still had time to be amazed by the amount of power the current had. And that's where it all started...
I already knew how climate change threatened the Maldives due to the rising sea levels (see my article in the latest Bomb magazine about this), and thought it ironic that they produced all their energy by burning fossil fuels - thereby contributing to their own demise. I decided there must be a way for them to use their abundant ocean energy as a renewable energy source. And so the idea was born...
I got home, and for the next 6 months studied everything I could about tidal energy, whilst putting together a research paper on the Maldives energy profile, and the potential for this to be supplemented through renewable energy (yes, I am a nerd!). I then contacted various research institutes and universities around the world that were involved with tidal energy research (still in it's infancy 5 years ago), to see who I could interest in the study.
The Robert Gordon University, a world leader in tidal energy research, were kind enough to entertain my crazy idea. So together we collaborated on a proposal, which I went and presented to the Maldives government. We received approval for the study - but they couldn't provide funding - and so the long mission of tracking down the money began. Pretty damn hard to get seed capital to investigate something for which the technology is still on paper, and was not yet proven back then. Just to add a further challenge - the previous Maldivian government (who we had the original agreement with) got replaced by the first democratically elected government in 30 years. So back to square one..
Anyway, I'm the persistent sort. And thankfully the new President is outspoken in his fight against climate change. I had a meeting with him in 2009 to present the idea to him, and got his approval to go ahead. However, the funding for the research still remained the stumbling block.
Eventually the Scottish government came on board and agreed to assist with funding. So for the last year it's been a case of trying to get the Scottish minister and the Maldivian minister in the same place for an official signing and press conference. It was actually all planned for April this year - then that stupid volcano in Iceland blew up and the flights were cancelled....and so was the meeting!
So at last they both ended up in the same place....the global climate change conference being held in Cancun at the moment. The deal's done. The ink is dry. Our project is a go. I'm officially involved in a renewable energy research project in the Maldives. WOOOHOOO!!
Who knows, maybe one day Millerslocal's will be lucky enough to upgrade to being Maldiveslocal!