Islay testing area for green energy?

Highland and Island Enterprises (HIE) is an organisation to support and promote Economic and social development in Scotland. HIE's activities include: delivery of business support services, provision of training and learning programmes, assistance for community and cultural projects and measures for environmental renewal.

It's the latter that HIE wants to deploy, possibly on Islay according to a report in the Scotsman. HIE is planning to turn an entire island such as Islay or Mull into a testing ground for environmental technology. Willie Roe, HIE's chairman, said the development agency would attempt to slash carbon consumption on a selected island by more than half in order to demonstrate the latest green technology. Under the scheme, which should start next year, renewable energy, efficient heating systems and environmentally friendly transport would be combined on a scale which has yet to be tried in the UK. HIE hopes to reduce carbon consumption on the island to below a level which experts regard as sustainable, implying a cut of between a half and two-thirds in consumption of gas, oil, coal and peat energy. HIE's area boasts copious quantities of wind and wave power, as well as hydro-electric power, which mean the target could be achieved more easily than in urban areas.

A part of Islay's electricity is already environmentally friendly. In 2002 a wave energy installation, also known as a Limpet 500 (Land Installed Marine Powered Energy Transformer), was installed and feeds 500 kilowatts of electricity into the island's grid. Islay was the first place in Scotland where such an installation was built.

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