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.
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.
|HOW TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE
CASE STUDY: keeping local areas distinctive
The UK’s most successful NGO is based in a Dorset village, with no members or PR team. Paul Kingsnorth meets the duo behind it…
Learning from remote, sustainable communities
Being off the beaten track need not require lashings of fossil fuels to provide a comfortable lifestyle. James Morrison tells the remarkable story of the inhabitants of Scotland's Knoydart Peninsula
Foresight without vision
Who decides how our land is put to use? With food security and energy crises on the horizon, the Government’s new think-tank needs to pull its socks up, says Simon Fairlie
Replanting the Caledonian Forest
Armed with a spade, work gloves, wellies and waterproofs you can help the Trees for Life project to restore an old growth forest to its ancient glory