What is 3 miles long, 1 1/2 miles wide and now has all round renewable electricity for its 60 inhabitants?
Fair Isle is situated halfway between Orkney and Shetland. With £1.5million from the Scottish Government and match funding from a range of organisations the community now receives its electricity from three wind turbine generators, a ground-mounted solar photovoltaic system and battery storage.
Up until now electricity was only available from 7.30 am to 11:30 pm each day.
Fair Isle has been owned by the National Trust since 1954 and is internationally famous for its distinctive knitwear and wildlife.
Paul Wheelhouse, Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands,in the Scottish Government said:
“Those of us living on the mainland of Scotland can often take reliable supplies of electricity for granted. This has never been possible for the islanders of Fair Isle. The reality of having, for the first time in their history, 24-hour supplies of electricity presents exciting prospects for the Fair Isle community, who will not only benefit from access to a reliable electricity supply around the clock, but also now have in place a new cleaner, greener energy system.
“This development is yet another example of Scotland’s ability to harness its renewables potential to build a sustainable energy future which will play a significant role in powering our future, and I am proud of the role that the Scottish Government and Highlands and Islands Enterprise have been able to play in providing 50% of the funding for this much needed project taken forward by Fair Isle Electricity Company.
“I wish FIEC every success and hope our investment has a truly transformational impact in improving the quality of life and economic prospects for all on Fair Isle.”
The Fair Isle electricity project received match funding from the Big Lottery, Shetland Islands Council, National Trust for Scotland, Scottish Water, Fair Isle Electricity Company and Fair Isle Bird Observatory.
Robert Mitchell, company director of FIEC, said:
“As an important project in a fragile rural area, having reliable renewable power will make a huge difference now and in the future, and we hope that it will encourage more people to come and live on the island. It also provides a great opportunity for more businesses to start here.
“The new energy system will be cleaner and greener and will reduce reliance on expensive diesel, hence making living costs more sustainable. It’s an ambitious project and is another step in ensuring that the community of Fair Isle continues to thrive.”