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West Midlands using state of the art tech to help reach net zero


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A local company has shown Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and chair of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), how it’s helping to cut carbon emissions in the race to net-zero by adapting 5G technology to control wind turbines hundreds of miles away.

Birmingham-based Fine Energy demonstrated its Osmium service to the Mayor on Global Wind Day (15 June), the day dedicated to promoting wind energy’s ability to reshape energy systems and cut carbon.

Global Wind Day also marks the four-week point before the WMCA hosts the International Net Zero Leadership conference – a key event in the run-up to the UK’s presidency of COP26 in November.

The Mayor watched a demonstration of how the technology company controls and monitors wind turbines in remote Scottish Islands. Graham Hygate, a director of Fine Energy, joined the demonstration from Orkney, where he was trialling cellular IoT, a 5G service that allows them to get connectivity even at sites where the internet signal is weak.

Andy Street himself said: “Watching someone in an office in Birmingham using 5G to control and monitor wind turbines all the way up in Orkney in Northern Scotland really was quite eye-opening. It showed just how powerful this technology can be and what a difference it can make in helping to cut carbon emissions.”

Osmium’s use of 5G and related technologies allows them to retrofit wind turbines and other assets which were previously off-network with a small internet-connected computer into the control cabinet of each structure. It sits alongside existing equipment, enhancing its capabilities and extending its life for a fraction of the cost of swapping in an internet-enabled replacement control system.

Earlier this month, registration opened for the International Net Zero Leadership conference, which has been organised with UK100. It will bring together leaders from across the UK and worldwide, from government, industry and research, to discuss the climate challenge and how best to achieve net-zero.

Speakers will include COP26 President Alok Sharma and Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng. The event will take place on 13 July in Birmingham but will be broadcast online for anyone to attend virtually. Registration is open to anyone at https://uk.virtualeventhosts.com/UK100-Netzero/register.

Councillor Ian Courts, the WMCA portfolio lead for environment and Leader of Solihull Council, said: “On Global Wind Day, it is great to hear of an example of how using technology and wind power can help us achieve net-zero.

“There is not just one silver bullet to achieving the necessary change on Climate Change, but it needs action on several fronts, and this is another important one.”

 For more information on WM5G, visit: www.wm5g.org.uk

For more information on the 5PRING accelerators, visit: www.5pring.org












Written by: David Watkins

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