A tiny, scenic island lying off Scotland’s west coast is truly a model for sustainable, off-grid living. With no mainland electricity connection, the Isle of Eigg gets its electricity from the water, the wind and the sun. After decades of using diesel generators, in February 2008 the residents of Eigg officially switched to their own renewable electricity supply, becoming the world’s first community to launch an off-grid electric system. The 12-square-mile island, with its small population of 105 residents , gets ’round-the-clock power via a combination of hydroelectric generators, wind turbines, a photovoltaic array and a bank of batteries . On days when renewable resources are low or during maintenance, two 80kW diesel generators provide backup. "The set-up that we’ve got now will carry the island all day and put charge into the batteries for the evening," John Booth, the former director of the community-owned Eigg Electric company, told the BBC . On days when there is a surplus of power—like when it’s particularly windy or rainy—electric heaters automatically switch on in Eigg’s church and community hall, which is ideal for keeping shared spaces warm throughout the winter. This means "virtually no central heating in the system at all," […]

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