Scottish Isle of Eigg wins energy prize

Posted: 15 January 2010

The Isle of Eigg's inhabitants have been awarded a share in a £1 million energy conservation prize to assist in their dream of transforming the island into the UK's first green community. The prize comes after Eigg residents developed a renewable energy project to deliver the island's power demands, installing four 6kW wind turbines, solar panels and a hydro-electric scheme.

Wind generators on Scottish Isle of Eigg
Wind generators on Scottish Isle of Eigg
Proven Energy 6kW wind turbines on the Scottish Isle of Eigg, which won an energy conservation prize for reducing its carbon footprint.
The National Endowment for Science, Technology and Arts (NESTA) awarded the prize as part of the Big Green Challenge, an initiative to find new and better ways to tackle climate change. The community-owned island has gradually become self-sufficient after a decision to jointly buy the land in 1997. Since then, the islanders have worked hard to upgrade their energy supply - installing four Proven Energy 6kW wind turbines to harness the high Western Isles’ winds, a large solar energy development and building insulation.

The island has now achieved an impressive 32% reduction in carbon emissions in the past year with the 2020 target of 34% almost reached on the island alone. The prize money will be invested in converting some homes to wood burning heating and continuing their energy efficiency project.

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.”

Proven Energy’s Chairman, Chris Simpson, said: “The Isle of Eigg has not only won a prestigious prize but has shown that government targets are achievable using small scale renewables. Proven Energy is proud to have been part of this vibrant sustainable community.”

As the only Scottish finalist in the scheme, the Isle of 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.

More than 350 community projects applied for the awards across the UK and only ten were selected to compete for the final prize. They were given one year to put their green plans into action and show the benefit of their creative sustainable ideas.

Lord David Putnam, Chair of the judging panel, announced the winning projects at a NESTA event, with each of the winning projects receiving £300,000 to continue their green energy projects.