Page last updated at 11:00 GMT, Friday, 14 November 2008

Eigg to be 'first green island'

Eigg. Pic: Undiscovered Scotland
Eigg is the only Scottish finalist in the Big Green Challenge.

Eigg is to become Scotland's first green power island, according to the National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts (Nesta).

Islanders have won a 20,000 grant after making it to the final of Nesta's UK-wide Big Green Challenge.

The funding will be used to help residents reduce carbon emissions to zero and launch a website called Build Your Own Green Island.

Eigg and nine other finalists are vying for a share of a 1m prize fund.

The isle and its renewable projects will be judged over the next 12 months.

350 projects entered the competition.
The 10 finalists have received 20,000 each.
They are vying for a share of a 1m prize fund.

Other finalists include Back 2 Earth in London, Three Green Valleys in the Brecon Beacons and the West Sussex project Waste Oil Recycling in Prisons.

John Hutchison, chairman of Isle of Eigg Heritage Trust, said the organisation was proud to be the only Scottish finalist.

He said: "Reducing Eigg's CO2 emissions is vital to our sustainability, but we're very much looking forward to monitoring and sharing what we've achieved with the rest of the country.

"The interest in the Big Green Challenge has been building since Eigg Electric brought 24-hour renewable power to our community. We expect it to increase further as our Big Green Challenge Year unfolds."

Jonathan Kestenbaum, of Nesta, said Eigg was an excellent example of a community project.

The isle is also on the shortlist for the Scottish Renewables Green Energy Awards.

High voltage

An existing 1.6m renewable power system for the island, in the Small Isles between Skye and the Ardnamurchan peninsula, uses a mix of hydro, wind and solar power.

It went online for the first time in February.

It has been designed to generate more than 95% of Eigg's annual energy demand and is backed up by a battery storage system and two diesel generators.

Residents previously depended on diesel generators and hydro schemes.

About 45 households, 20 businesses and six community buildings on the island are linked together by six miles of buried cable that forms a high voltage network.

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