Islay Energy Trust’s third Renewables Day on 28th January drew a good crowd once again, all keen to find out more about how renewable technologies can benefit the average house, while also picking up a few tips on composting from Polly and indulging in delicious baking and snacks from the Islay High School Hospitality team. Following the recent cuts to Feed-in Tariff for solar PV, the emphasis this year switched away from harnessing the power of the sun to harnessing the potential of the heat pump, with particular interest in air-air heat pumps, which many are finding to be an efficient and affordable alternative to oil and electricity when it comes to heating the home. If you’d like more information on any renewable technology but weren’t able to attend on the day, please feel free to get in touch and we can supply a list of exhibitors.
The event is also a useful opportunity to keep everyone up to date with IET’s activities, and of course to gain new members, which won’t have escaped the notice of anyone trying to get into the hall without attracting the attention of Malcolm Ogilvie, our chief recruiter. Over 31 new membership forms were handed out on the day; most have found their way back to us, but if you still have yours then feel free to drop it into the office at any time. Our membership now stands at over 300, which helps to show good community engagement when we apply for funding support for projects.
Andy Macdonald gave a thorough and informative update on the Sound of Islay Tidal project, which is making good progress, and also on display was a selection of images from the recent visual assessment carried out for our single community wind turbine proposal near Castlehill. This project is still very much in the development stage as we are in negotiation over the ground lease, but Scottish Natural Heritage, as site owner, has very helpfully given us interim permission to carry out various studies to take full advantage of our current funding. This means that in addition to commissioning the visual assessment we have been able to apply for a grid connection for the project, and have recently submitted a planning application for a met mast on the site so that we can carry out the necessary wind speed assessments. We hope that this project, which would see the installation of one 330kW turbine, will one day earn a considerable income for the community – but there are a number of hurdles still to clear, not least that grid connection application.
The visual assessment has been a very interesting exercise, and it is encouraging to see how low-key the installation would be if it goes ahead. If you didn’t see the pictures on the day, they are available to see at our office in Main Street – please call in during office hours, all comments welcome.