AN island community has set up its own energy venture that will meet almost all its power needs.

The Isle of Canna Community Development Trust has announced the launch of its new, environmentally-friendly energy generation system, following a bedding-in period which saw it meet 98 per cent of residents’ energy requirements.

The new system is expected to substitute the use of over 36,000 litres of diesel fuel each year, equivalent to 96.6 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.

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

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As a result of the community venture, Canna Renewable Energy and Electrification Ltd (CREEL), power is now generated through wind and solar and linked to a battery storage system, which relegates the old generators to occasional back-up use.


Geraldine MacKinnon, CREEL director said: “As well as minimising the noise and pollution from the generators, the new scheme gives us the capacity to build additional houses on Canna, so that new families can make their home on this beautiful island.”

The new power system also benefits existing local businesses as well as allowing for further expansion and investment. There are around 10 local businesses at present including guest houses, a cafe, campsite and crofts.

Reliable and affordable power is vital in helping these businesses thrive and expand.


Ms MacKinnon added: “A reliable power source will certainly help increase visitor numbers but also has potential to lead to more investment in new facilities, such as a community hub and bunkhouse providing accommodation, electric showers and laundry facilities.

“The community and the National Trust for Scotland are currently undertaking a feasibility study for these facilities, all of which would depend on the additional electricity capacity the CREEL project has delivered.”


The £1.3 million project was part funded by the Big Lottery Fund who put in £983,000, Local Energy Scotland and the Scottish Government’s CARES and Innovation and Infrastructure Fund programmes who paid in £150,000, SSE Highland Sustainable Development Fund who provided £100,000 and the Highlands and Islands Enterprise and the National Trust for Scotland who each contributed £50,000.

Canna is owned and cared for by conservation charity the National Trust for Scotland, which works in partnership with the trust.  


Alan Rankin, of the NTS, said: “The Isle of Canna Community Development Trust is to be congratulated and we were delighted to be able to offer our support.

"The advent of renewable power can truly be described as transformational for the island and this is definitely the way of the future for sustainable island communities.”