Life is about to become far more comfortable for the 55 inhabitants of a tiny Scottish island battered by North Sea gales and Atlantic storms. While the rest of Britain enjoys unfettered access to electricity, powerful winds ensure that Fair Isle, Britain’s most remote inhabited island, is often plunged into darkness, with blackouts usually striking at the most inopportune moments. After years of putting up with televisions that go black during big sporting events and ovens that switch off before the Sunday roast is cooked, this tight-knit community is to be hauled into the modern age with a network of wind turbines that guarantee 24-hour power. Since the 1980s, the island, which lies 24 miles south of Shetland, has relied on diesel generators and wind power, but one of its venerable turbines only functions intermittently and the system has no capacity to store energy. The Fair Isle Electricity Company is leading plans to install three 60kW wind turbines, a 50kW solar array and battery storage as well after securing £2.6 million in funding. Hopes are high that the move will bring round-the-clock electricity to the island for the first time in its history and help to bolster its dwindling population. The new scheme will extend a high-voltage network to the north of the three-mile-long island to enable grid connections to the water treatment works, the airstrip, harbour and one of the main attractions on an island beloved of ornithologists, the Fair Isle Bird Observatory.
Times 27th July 2017 read more »