A remote Scottish island switched to renewable energy this week as part of a ground breaking project.
The £1.6 million system established on the Isle of Eigg will give islanders 24-hours-a-day power.
Islanders believe this may be the first time that hydro electric, wind power and solar energy have been successfully integrated in one system.
Director of Eigg Electric John Booth, who has been the co-ordinator of the said: “This project is the culmination of 10 years of achievement since the purchase of the island in 1997. Eigg
Electric gives us the green light to our future”
The system will will generate 95 per cent of the isle’s energy needs and will be backed up by a battery storage system and two diesel generators. Until now residents have had to rely on diesel generators and hydro schemes.
A total of 45 households, 20 businesses and six community buildings are linked together by 11 miles of buried cable that forms a high voltage network.
John Hutchison, Chairman of the Isle of Eigg Heritage Trust said, “The Eigg Electric team has done an excellent job on behalf of the resilient Eigg community.”
Eigg Electric commissioned Synergie Scotland to manage the project in 2005 and the main design and build was undertaken by Scottish Hydro Contracting.
Managing director of Synergie Scotland, Ian MacGillivray, said: “We have been delighted to have been involved with such a unique and technically challenging project and we compliment the people of Eigg for their vision and determination to deliver a project with such a wide community benefit.”
Regional Manager of Scottish Hydro Contracting Ian Cartwright said: 'The system will be owned and operated by Eigg Electric with some on going maintenance and HV switching by Hydro Contracting.'
The trust raised £45,000 for the project and the islanders brought in a further £30,000.
Funding also came from Europe, the Big Lottery Fund, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Community Energy Company, the Scottish Government and Highland Council.