Western Isles Energy in Motion (WIEiM)

Energy in Motion is a year-long project, started in 2020,  aiming to raise awareness of sustainable transport opportunities amongst community groups across the Western Isles. Through this project Community Energy Scotland is able to provide an advice and support service for Western Isles community organisations who are interested in sustainable transport projects. 

A survey of the organisations was conducted initially, to gauge the levels of interest, and the knowledge of and experience with sustainable transport projects.  More than 10 community groups have since approached us for support with related funding applications. 

As part of WIEiM Community Energy Scotland is planning sustainable transport awareness events and try out sessions for e-bikes and electric vehicles in 2021. This includes a Western Isles Sustainable Transport festival, a month long event which would take place in Spring 2021 and combine various challenges and events to raise awareness about sustainable transport. These activities will of course be based around any covid restrictions that may be in place at the time.  

We have embarked on the delivery of a WIEiM webinar series, focusing on sustainable transport opportunities for groups in the Western Isles – these webinars have been designed and delivered in lieu of in-person awareness raising events which have been postponed till 2021. 

The majority of funding for WIEiM is from Paths for All, with further support from the Western Isles Development Trust, the Robertson Trust and the Pebble Trust. 

Outer Hebrides to feature in international research into local energy innovation

We are delighted to announce that Community Energy Scotland are one of two Scottish partners supporting the Outer Hebrides in a multi-national research project putting local people at the heart of delivering a low carbon future for their communities.

The Responsible Research and Innovation Policy Experimentations for Energy Transition project, RIPEET, is looking at the impacts of bringing together communities, businesses, academia, government, and the environmental sector to deliver sustainable energy solutions.

The project is being funded from the EU’s largest ever Research and Innovation programme, the €80bn Horizon 2020. As well as the Highlands and Islands, RIPEET is working with communities in Extremadura in Spain, and Ostrobothnia in Finland. We will be working closely with Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), the second Scottish partner in the project.

“The plan is to bring together a wide range of people in a ‘Transition Lab’. The participants will explore what ideal regional energy systems would look like locally in 15-20 years’ time. Then, what’s needed to achieve that energy vision: including energy needs; the barriers; and how to kickstart action to deliver the vision.”

Sarah Marshall, senior project manager at HIE

“The Outer Hebrides Lab will be able to actively shape and create change. RIPEET includes €50,000 funding for an ‘open call’ for solutions to meet an identified regional energy need. This might be a social or technological innovation, the establishment of an organisation, or a piece of research as selected by the stakeholders.”

Matthew Logan, CES Energy in Motion Development Officer, based in the Western Isles

Throughout the project, research will be carried out to understand what common policies, drivers and processes are needed to promote the regional transition to low carbon energy. The project is starting this year and will run until February 2024.

The international RIPEET project team comprises representatives from 11 experienced organisations from seven European countries, led by the Austrian Centre for Social Innovation (ZSI).

“Our aim is to provide responsible and place-based research on energy transition innovation and delivery models, learning from the experiences of the three Transition Labs as they explore options, barriers and solutions in their local regions.”

Wolfgang Haider, RIPEET Coordination Team at the Centre for Social Innovation in Vienna

Together with HIE, we are currently compiling a list of relevant stakeholders interested in taking part in the project.

Western Isles Micro-Turbines

Win – Win

The fleet of turbines are sited around the Western Isles. Their locations on community-owned land serve as an exchange for free electricity.

  • Benbecula x 1
  • Galson x 3
  • North Harris x 2
  • South Uist x 2
  • Tarbert x 3
CEST Ltd Western Isles Micro Turbine Locations – Google Maps

The turbines help provide an income to Community Energy Scotland Trading Limited, which passes profits back to support the work of Community Energy Scotland.

Built in the UK, the turbines were installed and are maintained by a business from South Uist, helping keep the supply chain local.

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