Thursday, 3 January 2008

Electrifying Eigg

This story relates to the Isle of Eigg in the Inner Hebrides, some 90 miles south of Stornoway and about 15 miles south of Skye - it lies 10 miles east of the Scottish mainland. The people there, numbering 85, bought their island from a maverick landlord in 1997, after he was found to be out of pocket to the tune of about £3m. Having suffered decades of neglect, they set about improving their places. Off went the 1950s car wrecks, prettily adorning the roadsides. Out went the leaking roofs and collapsing windowframes that so endeared Eigg to one its previous landlords, Keith Schellenberg. He still owns one property, and it, appropriately, is falling down.

Electricity was, until recently, supplied by diesel generators. These could only supply 12 kW of power, which means that you can't run the washing machine and the iron at the same time. They also drink diesel like a Scot drinks whisky at Hogmanay. So, the islanders put their thinking caps on, pulled in all the subsidies they were legally entitled to and set about building their own electricity grid. Starting with a hydro-electric scheme in the hamlet of Kildonnan (3 homes), it was extended by using solar panels, windturbines and more small hydro schemes.

I am awaiting confirmation, but the big switch-on should have happened about a week ago. Another achievement for the islanders. Listen to this report from 2002 about island life.


  1. Sounds like a HUGE improvement.... good for them!!!   A beautiful place!!


  2. I am excited for them. What a challenge they took on. Good for them.

  3. It looks delightful.How scenic.What an achievement.I wish them well and good luck with the switch on too.What an interesting posting I ahv e realy enjoyed reading this today.Take Care God Bless.I am bust making tea but I shall be back to listen to your link.Good grief I don't fancya tot of  diesel LOL!!God Bless Kath astoriasand

  4. I would imagine they are so excited about being able to run more than one appliance at a time. Good for them for bringing the island to life.  It looks gorgeous.  Nice story.

  5. How totally AWESOME!

    Although I can relate to not using more than one appliance at a time.  At the old house in Florida, we couldn't run the washer and the microwave at the same time or it would trip.  LOL


  6. Just shows what people power can do....Good on them..Sybil x

  7. That is awesome!!!  Good for them!

    be well,

  8. What a great story.  it just shows what people can do when they put their minds to it.  People power. Good on 'em. Wishing them good luck in the future.