Project that allowed island of 18 turn to green energy wins award

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CANNA Renewable Energy and Electrification, on the westernmost of the Small Isles archipelago in the Inner Hebrides, has won the 2019 Best Community Project award at the Scottish Green Energy Awards.

The Isle of Canna is four miles long and a mile wide, and is linked to the neighbouring island of Sanday by a road and sandbanks at low tide.

For almost 20 years, Canna and Sanday’s 18 residents have had to rely on three diesel generators for power.

The diesel generators and a small grid weer supplied at no cost to residents but was very
expensive for National Trust for Scotland, which owns the island, so for the last few years residents have been paying for their electricity.

The Canna Renewable Energy and Electrification project aimed to dramatically reduce noise, pollution and carbon emissions on Canna, which has no connection to the National Grid.

National Trust for Scotland was always keen for the community to take over ownership and running of the electricity scheme.

In the Isle of Canna Community Development Plan, 2013 to 2018, there were plans for the community to establish a renewable energy supply.

The Canna Renewable Energy and Electrification project involved the construction of a new system on the island based around wind, solar and battery storage which has drastically reduced fuel usage and running costs.

The project is made up of:
• 159kW battery storage
• 30kW (6 x 5kW) wind turbines
• 30kW ground mounted solar PV array
• Electrical grid and control infrastructure
• Equipment accommodation (sheds for battery
storage and control equipment)

The people of Canna now have a reliable, low carbon 24-hour electricity supply, with better power quality and less risk of bills escalating if diesel costs rise.

During the first year of operation, the new system has generated over 138MWh of electricity, of which 93% was renewable.

This has resulted in a 94% reduction in diesel usage, saving 100.9 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.

The generators ran for under 2% of the time (operating less than three times per month on average), compared to running 24/7 previously.

Community Energy Scotland has been supporting the community on Canna with this project since 2009, and project managed the final development and construction stages on behalf of the community company, Canna Renewable Energy and Electrification Ltd.