Largely self-sufficient Scottish island wins prize

| 18th January 2010
Isolated house on Isle of Eigg

The Isle Of Eigg has reduced its carbon emissions by 32 per cent since installing renewable energy projects

Isle of Eigg pursuit of self-sufficiency through renewable energy projects has been rewarded with share of UK-wide award

Residents of a remote Scottish island that has become largely self sufficient in energy have been awarded a share of a £1m energy conservation prize.

The Isle of Eigg, off the West Coast of Scotland, was collectively purchased by residents in 1997 and has since installed a number of renewable power projects that help to generate 95 per cent of the island's annual energy needs.

Renewable power

Islanders have installed a 100kW hydro electric generator, two smaller hydro electric generators of 10kW and 9kW, four 6kW wind generators and 10kW of solar electric cells.

Their progress has now been recognised with a £300,000 prize from The Big Green Challenge, a competition run by The National Endowment for Science, Technology and Arts (NESTA) to find better ways of reducing carbon emissions.

Speaking to NewEnergyFocus, Isle of Eigg Heritage Trust chairman, John Hutchison said:
'There has been a great deal of hard work over the past two years and everyone deserves great credit. This puts Eigg firmly on the international stage.'

Eigg shared the £1 million prize fund with two other winners: an energy and transport project in the Brecon Beacons in Wales and an energy efficiency project in Shropshire.

Making a difference

Jonathan Kestenbaum, NESTA's chief executive said the Big Green Challenge showed that communities are a vital force in solving some of society's biggest problems.

‘We can no longer afford to pay lip service to the importance of local solutions - now is the time to support communities to make a real difference,’ he said.

The islanders will invest the prize money in converting residents’ homes to wood burning heating and continuing their energy efficiency projects.

In June 2008 the Ecologist reported that the community land ownership project on the Isle of Eigg was helping the local community thrive, allowing a range of environmental and economic sustainable innovations to flourish.

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