Quantcast

Scottish Island Transitions From No Grid to 85-Percent Renewable Energy in 6 Years

Business

The people of Eigg Island are used to getting results when it comes to advancements in renewable energy.

The island with just 85 residents has transitioned from having no grid in 2008 to now making energy—mostly clean—available to everybody. In 1997, Eigg became the first island in Scottish history to be bought by its inhabitants, and now it dreams of being the first island in the world powered by renewable energy.

"It varies from year to year depending on weather conditions, but we are getting between 85 and 90 percent of our energy from renewables," Maggie Fyffe, secretary of the Eigg Heritage Trust, told Al Jazeera.

"There are miles and miles of underground cable connecting every house to the grid."

The island only receives tourist visits during certain parts of the year and is about 12 miles away from mainland Scotland. It's independent from the United Kingdom's national grid, which prevents the island from signing contracts with large companies to deploy renewable energy. Other small communities in Scotland have signed such contracts, guiding the nation to its 100-percent-renewable-energy goal by 2020.

The island's renewable portfolio includes a 100 kilowatt (kW) hydro electric generator supported by two smaller generators; four 6-kW wind generators; and 30kW of solar cells. According to the island trust, the overall control of the power generation of the system relies on a bank of batteries connected to the distribution grid through a series of linked inverters. The inverters allow energy to flow from the batteries and the grid. They adjust depending upon the balance of demand and supply to maintain the charge of the batteries.

The system cost about $2.64 million and was funded by the European Union and a few national entities. Before 2008, most islanders relied generators that ran on diesel and polluted the atmosphere. They also had to be shipped from the mainland at large costs.

"It's hard to imagine what it is like to live with no electricity or limited electricity," said Fyffe, who moved to the island in the '70s. "If you had a generator you would only have it on for a few hours a day, so that meant you only had electricity for certain hours of the day. Now, life is so much easier.

"I've got a washing machine—which I never had before."

Visit EcoWatch’s RENEWABLES page for more related news on this topic.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Bumblebees flying and pollinating a creeping thyme flower. emeliemaria / iStock / Getty Images

It pays to pollinate in Minnesota.

Read More Show Less
Aerial view of icebergs on Arctic Ocean in Greenland. Explora_2005 / iStock / Getty Images

The annual Arctic thaw has kicked off with record-setting ice melt and sea ice loss that is several weeks ahead of schedule, scientists said, as the New York Times reported.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Sled dog teams pull researchers from the Danish Meteorological Institute through meltwater on the Greenland ice sheet in early June, 2019. Danish Meteorological Institute / Steffen M. Olsen

By Jon Queally

In yet the latest shocking image depicting just how fast the world's natural systems are changing due to the global climate emergency, a photograph showing a vast expanse of melted Arctic ice in Greenland — one in which a pair of sled dog teams appear to be walking on water — has gone viral.

Read More Show Less
CAFOs often store animal waste in massive, open-air lagoons, like this one at Vanguard Farms in Chocowinity, North Carolina. Bacteria feeding on the animal waste turns the mixture a bright pink. picstever / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

By Tia Schwab

It has been almost a year since Hurricane Florence slammed the Carolinas, dumping a record 30 inches of rainfall in some parts of the states. At least 52 people died, and property and economic losses reached $24 billion, with nearly $17 billion in North Carolina alone. Flood waters also killed an estimated 3.5 million chickens and 5,500 hogs.

Read More Show Less
Members of the NY Renews coalition gathered before New York lawmakers reached a deal on the Climate and Communities Protection Act. NYRenews / Twitter

By Julia Conley

Grassroots climate campaigners in New York applauded on Monday after state lawmakers reached a deal on sweeping climate legislation, paving the way for the passage of what could be some of the country's most ambitious environmental reforms.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
In this picture taken on June 4, an Indian boatman walks amid boats on the dried bed of a lake at Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary, on the eve of World Environment Day. Sam Panthaky / AFP / Getty Images

By Julia Conley

Nearly 50 people died on Saturday in one Indian state as record-breaking heatwaves across the country have caused an increasingly desperate situation.

Read More Show Less
A man carries a poster in New York City during the second annual nationwide March For Science on April 14, 2018. Kena Betancur / Getty Images

By Will J. Grant

In an ideal world, people would look at issues with a clear focus only on the facts. But in the real world, we know that doesn't happen often.

People often look at issues through the prism of their own particular political identity — and have probably always done so.

Read More Show Less

YinYang / E+ / Getty Images

In a blow to the Trump administration, the Supreme Court ruled Monday to uphold a Virginia ban on mining uranium, Reuters reported.

Read More Show Less