The Renewable Island of Eigg
Located in the Scottish Inner Hebrides, Eigg is a small island with less than 100 inhabitants. In 2008, the community on the island joined together with the Isle of Eigg Heritage Trust and successfully built a major mains electricity grid, powered by renewable sources. Four 6KW wind turbines, solar panels and a network of hydroelectric systems have reduced the reliance on diesel generators. The island is now powered by between 75% and 98% renewable resources.
All Images Copyright Jim Johnston 2017.
‘It’s a nightmare replacing these panels when the wind’s up, but I do love it here and I love Eigg. Since the island’s gone green and become less reliant on importing diesel, it’s so peaceful and much quieter on the island’. – Bob
‘It’s beautiful here but at the moment hill farming is in serious decline on the island. We need a local abattoir so we can become even more self-sufficient’ – Sarah Boden, the only hill farmer on Eigg.
One of four 6KW Wind Turbines.
‘Aye, she’s been picking it up pretty quickly’ – Emily teaching her niece Emmy how to use the clutch on a quad bike.
‘I’m a graphic designer, but I am also one of two plumbers on the island. At the moment I am installing Solar Panels on my friend Jenny’s house, you have to do what you can to make a living out here’. Ben Cormack
‘There are hundreds of bird species here including Golden Eagles and Peregrines. The removal of diesel generators has really helped hear, spot and enjoy the wildlife here’ John Chester aka ‘John the Bird’, Eigg’s Wildlife Warden.
PV Solar Farm.
Looking North West to the Isle of Rum.
Beans and tea at 07.00 hours then we head to the tea room for a bacon sarnie. It’s so peaceful here – we’ve never slept better’ Maggie and Tommy from Liverpool, the only people camping on the island.
Egg Community Centre.
Main Control Room.
An array of batteries manage fluctuations in power supply but are unable to store excess energy The ability to store energy produced by renewables would be a major development in sustainable power.
‘That’s Ted and that’s Pig 2. We dont give the Pigs names for obvious reasons’ – Chris Rumbold who arrived on a small yacht 5 years ago and has been on Eigg ever since.
‘Renewables power the island but it’s the community that makes it all work’ – Eddie, Eigg Electric Team Co-ordinator.
Recycling awaiting shipment to the mainland.
Eigg is an example of what can be achieved by a small community and islanders welcome visitors from as far away as the South Pacific who wish to learn from Eigg’s sustainable projects.