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As it is with several  communities in rural Alaska, Scotland has some “Islanded” (in terms of energy) communities of its own  Eigg is a community which has major storms isolating it for days at times (though it is only a little more than a dozen miles from the UK mainland. About a decade ago they are noted as the first community to run fully off wind, water and solar power for electricity (currently Kodiak is roughly 90% independent from wind and water).   Diesel generators ran partial days which meant residents did not have around the clock electrical potential.

Similar to the Alaska Center for Energy and Power’s Global Applications Program, other countries are learning from the remote microgrid which Scotland has put up.  Four wind turbines make up  24 kW with solar providing 4.75kW of electricity (and double 70 kW diesel generators for back up with a battery bank).  Three hydro generators help throughout the year and the largest of them can at times generate up to 100kW with a 330 foot head. The other turbines create about a dozen kW combined. The cloudy weather causes the output to be seasonally variable, and  being at 57 degrees latitude (Anchorage is ~62 degrees) summer has a lot of solar gain.

Much the same as some of the Western Coastal Alaskan communities which utilize Steffans thermal stoves to deal with excess wind power, Eigg has turbines plow excess power into  the town hall, dock lobby and a couple of churches which allows them to avoid central heating.  It will be interesting to see if the ‘solved energy problem’ promotes migration and increases the island’s population in the near future!

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