Remote Fair Isle gets round-the-clock electricity for the first time

<em>Fair Isle is getting 24-hour electricity for the first time (Picture: Getty)</em>
Fair Isle is getting 24-hour electricity for the first time (Picture: Getty)

A remote British island is getting 24-hour electricity for the first time.

Fair Isle previously had access to power only between 7.30am and 11.30pm from a wind turbine and diesel generators.

But now the 55 islanders on the three-mile-long island, which is halfway between Orkney and Shetland, will have a round-the-clock supply thanks to a £3.5 million new renewable electricity system.

The system went live on Friday and uses a combination of three wind turbine generators, ground-mounted solar panels and battery storage.

Fair Isle Electricity Company (FIEC), which led the project, hopes it will attract more residents and businesses.

<em>Previously – Fair Isle islanders only had access to electricity from 7.30am to 11.30pm (Picture: PA)</em>
Previously – Fair Isle islanders only had access to electricity from 7.30am to 11.30pm (Picture: PA)

Director Robert Mitchell said: “As an important project in a fragile rural area, having reliable renewable power will make a huge difference now and in the future, and we hope that it will encourage more people to come and live on the island.

“It also provides a great opportunity for more businesses to start here.

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“The new energy system will be cleaner and greener and will reduce reliance on expensive diesel, hence making living costs more sustainable.

“It’s an ambitious project and is another step in ensuring that the community of Fair Isle continues to thrive.”

The system was backed by £1.5 million from the Scottish Government and £250,000 from development agency Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

Scottish Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands, Paul Wheelhouse said: “Those of us living on the mainland of Scotland can often take reliable supplies of electricity for granted. This has never been possible for the islanders of Fair Isle.

“The reality of having, for the first time in their history, 24-hour supplies of electricity presents exciting prospects for the Fair Isle community, who will not only benefit from access to a reliable electricity supply around the clock, but also now have in place a new cleaner, greener energy system.”