Big Green Footsteps. I'm Greg Martin as Line On Agriculture presents the Harvest Clean Energy Report.
What if everyone one in your community all agreed to specific renewable energy guidelines and decided to reduce the communities carbon footprint? John Hutchison, Chairman of the Isle of Eigg Heritage Trust in Scotland was part of one such effort recently. As part of the UK's "Big Green Challenge" everyone on the Isle of Eigg pulled together.
HUTCHISON: Which is a small community owned island in the northwest of Scotland, 12 miles off the Scottish mainland. The key thing we did was to reduce our carbon footprint and we built a whole island electricity scheme because on the Isle of Eigg previously there was no submarine electricity cable to the mainland. People had their own private diesel generators.
Hutchison says that was noisy, smelly and expensive. They received a grant that allowed them to connect everyone to a central grid.
HUTCHISON: And we would generate from hydro and from wind and we would have a battery backup for 24 hours and the batteries are charged by photovoltaic cells. And with the scheme having run for about 18months now, we know we are generating from renewable sources 92% of the time.
In addition to the island wide power generation individuals have updated insulation, installed solar water heaters, began ridesharing cars and Hutchison says that the residents have imposed a limit on the amount of electricity they can use.
HUTCHISON: There's a voluntary restriction on the use of electricity to 5 kilowatts per household which is quite low but that's a voluntary agreement and if people exceed 5 kilowatts it trips off and there's a reconnection charge of something like $40.
That may seem a bit harsh but Hutchison says that most everyone is completely on board with the project and in fact all that hard work has paid off as the project was one of three winners that shared about 1.6 million dollars in prize money.
HUTCHISON: This is actually the big new story that a community of 96 souls, probably 40 odd households can voluntarily agree to restrict electricity and that's actually the big message. The fact that we've built some hard infrastructure cables and that type of thing, that's really straight forward. But before we managed to get everyone to go ahead with this scheme we had to get 100% agreement that everyone on the island would connect to the scheme.
Be sure and visit their website www.islandsgoinggreen.org for the complete story. It's sure inspiring. And for additional information on clean energy, visit harvestcleanenergy.org. That's today's Line On Agriculture. I'm Greg Martin on the Northwest Ag Information Network.