Canna islanders reel in £1m in lottery funding to build new renewable energy system

Panoramic view of Canna Bay
Panoramic view of Canna Bay

Residents on the Hebridean island of Canna have secured funding of more than £1.3 million to build a community-owned renewable energy system which will transform the way power is generated on the island.

Since 2000, Canna -which has no connection to the National Grid – has been powered by three diesel generators, but a new system based around wind, solar and battery storage will drastically reduce fuel usage and running costs.

The community has started a new venture called Canna Renewable Energy and Electrification Ltd – CREEL for short – which will own and operate the new equipment, ploughing all profits back into the running of the system to help keep bills affordable for the residents and businesses.

CREEL will lease the existing generators and the power cables from the owners of the island, the National Trust for Scotland and it is hoped that more than 90% of electricity will be provided from the PV panels, and from six small wind turbines which are to be manufactured in Ayrshire.

CREEL director Geraldine MacKinnon said: “We’re delighted that construction will soon be underway on our energy project, which has been a long-standing ambition for our community.

“The island is exposed to the full force of Atlantic gales and we can finally start to put that to good use!

“As well as reducing the noise and pollution from the generators the new scheme will give us the capacity to build additional houses here, so that we can increase the number of people who can make their home on this beautiful island.”

The community secured £983,005 from the Big Lottery Fund and £150,000 from the Community and Renewable Energy Scheme scheme. Other funders included Scot-Govt quangos and the National Trust.

Community Energy Scotland is now working with CREEL to manage the development and construction of the project, building on the experience of nearby off-grid community schemes on Knoydart and the Isle of Muck.

 

Small wind turbines on the Isle of Eigg
The small wind turbines on the Isle of Eigg: PHOTO: Jamie Adam

Construction is due to start in April and is scheduled to take around seven months to complete. The Canna wind turbines will similar to the ‘small-wind’ machines already installed on the isle of Eigg.

Isle of Canna locator
Isle of Canna locator

Though steeped in some 1,500 years of Viking, early Christian, Scottish and Gaelic history, fewer than 30 people now live on the island of Canna.

19 Mar 2018

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