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Will Eigg Become Totally Reliant On Renewable Energy?

The Isle of Eigg is one of the islands that make up the Scottish Inner Hebrides being located about 10 miles from the west coast of Scotland, south of the Isle of Skye. At its longest point it is about 9 kilometres and at its widest around 5 kilometres covering an area of just over 30 square kilometres.

The Isle of Eigg

According to the 2011 census it had a population of only 83. Back in 1997, the island was purchased by the Isle of Eigg Heritage Trust with this being made up of the residents, the Scottish Wildlife Trust and the Highland Council. There are small businesses on the island and tourism plays a significant part in the economy especially in the summer period.

It was back in 2008, at a cost of about $2.6 million, that the island developed a mains electricity grid with the intention of renewable energy sources providing the power. These include a hydroelectric generator system using the island’s running water, wind turbines and solar panels. At the moment, around 85% of electricity is produced using these renewable energy sources with the balance emanating from diesel generators.

Interestingly, although not a surprise, the amount of electricity that residents can draw from the electricity grid is limited with homes restricted to 5 kilowatts at any one time and businesses to 10 kilowatts at any one time. You may be interested to read that 5kW is sufficient to power as many as fifty 100w light bulbs or a washing machine and an electric kettle.

Because of the location, the island can be the subject of some bad weather including very high winds but it does benefit from sunny weather in the summer months. The solar panels are capable of generating 30kW of capacity. Sometimes, too much electricity is produced so it is used to provide heat for public buildings.

It will be interesting if the island can become totally reliant on renewable energy at some point.

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