Western Isles are Powering Through the challenges facing community energy

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Tackling new community energy projects is hard work but worthwhile – that's the verdict that emerged from Community Energy Scotland's 2017 Western Isles conference on March 2nd.

50 delegates from across the Outer Hebrides gained inspiration and insight from local organisations as well as from groups, CES staff and other technical experts facing similar issues around Scotland.

Gwen Barrell presenting to Western Isles conference

Under the title 'Powering Through', curtailed grids, smart grids and private grids were all discussed in the context of using energy where it's sourced to maximise benefit for communities. 

Community Energy Scotland invited Xero Energy consultant, Nigel Scott, to share interim findings from the Western Isles Grid Study that is under way. He was able to hear directly about communities' experiences, to inform his research into opportunities to connect to the Western Isles grid. "Apart from being made to feel very welcome, I was very impressed by how engaged and switched on everyone is to grid and other matters," he said. "I hope we can deliver some positive results."

Community Energy Scotland announced new funding from LEADER Innse Gall and Western Isles Development Trust to allow local Development Officers to provide support and assistance to community groups looking at facility-based energy projects.

Delegates to CES Western Isles Conference 2017 at Talla Na Mara

The event led the An Là evening news and attracted media interest from BBC Radio nan Gaidheal, perhaps in part thanks to its spectacular venue – the new Talla Na Mara centre in West Harris, complete with heating and electricity system powered by its own local renewable generation.

CES would like to thank Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, LEADER Innse Gall and Western Isles Development Trust for their support, and our sponsors - Anderson Macarthur, Bruce Stevenson, CIB Services, Point and Sandwick Trust, and Tolsta Community Development Trust. Thank you also to West Harris Trust.

For more information, contact Kirsten MacDonald or Kathleen MacDonald, who are based in Stornoway for CES.

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