Electricity arrives on remote isle

A 24-hour mains electricity supply has finally arrived on a remote island for the first time. Renewable energy will provide electricity for the tiny Isle of Eigg, off Scotland's west coast.

The £1.6m system for the island, which forms part of the Small Isles archipelago, will include hydro, wind and solar power. It is hoped the system will generate more than 95 per cent of Eigg's annual energy demand and is backed up by a battery storage system and two diesel generators. Locals had to rely on expensive diesel generators to run their homes before.

It has taken a decade for the islanders' green dream to be realised. The idea was first raised after a community buy-out of the island in 1997, when residents clubbed together to purchase Eigg from its previous owner.

Now, a total of 45 households, 20 businesses and six community buildings are linked together by six miles of buried cable that forms a high voltage network.

John Booth, director of Eigg Electric which has co-ordinated the project, said: "This project is the culmination of ten years of achievement."

Eigg Electric commissioned Synergie Scotland, which manages infrastructure projects, to oversee the scheme. Ian MacGillivray, managing director of Synergie Scotland, 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."

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."

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.

Image: The Isle of Eigg - now mains powered

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