Scottish Green Energy Awards 2017

Winner of: The Best Community Project, Talla na Mara

We are delighted to announce that on the 30th of November, we won the award for the best community energy project, for out community enterprise centre Talla na Mara.

This has been a huge project with many different people and organisations playing key roles in bringing this to reality and it feels amazing to get some recognition for the innovative and community orientated use of renewable energy sources within this project.

Scott Bennett, a director on the West Harris renewables board was there to pick up the award and a great night was had!!

More Photos to follow as they come.

Project details below

In April 2012 West Harris Trust (WHT), conducted a community survey and identified a number of issues and challenges focused on limited employment opportunities, a lack of community meeting points and the Trusts need for a sustainable income stream. Following further community consultations and feasibility studies, the brief was identified as; to create an outstanding multi-purpose centre incorporating first class community, business and visitor facilities. Talla na Mara was the chosen name for the Community Enterprise Centre – named by Alex Passmore a pupil at Leverhulme memorial school.

The build started in May 2015. WHT were keen to incorporate a community energy project as part of the overall development of Talla na Mara with the aim of creating a sustainable energy generation, storage and consumption system for the centre and 6 social housing units. The goal was to create a resilient, self-sustaining local energy economy by incorporating power supplied by a 100kW wind turbine with a smart management system to serve Talla na Mara and the houses on site.

One of the key aims of the project was to produce renewable energy at an affordable cost from locally available wind resources to power the new centre and 6 social housing units, as well as a further 4 house plots, with extremely low GHG emissions and zero from device operation.

Additionally, it demonstrates the incorporation of renewable energy sources into a community and housing project. The information gained from the development of the project would then be able to be shared with other community groups which in turn would help them to devise further projects which would maximise the reduction in GHG emissions.  The final outputs of the work also meant that project partners could optimise renewable energy use and provide a model that could be replicated in other small, remote communities across Scotland and further afield.

The 100kW Xant wind turbine and smart management system were installed in September 2016.  The turbine is now providing electricity for the community centre and the 6 social housing units developed by Hebridean Housing Partnership, a charitable not-for-profit housing association based in the Outer Hebrides.  It also heats the hot water to heat Talla na Mara and excess energy is being made available for electric vehicle owners to charge their cars.  Talla na Mara officially opened in March 2017, after 5 years of development.  The project has helped to reinvigorate the West Harris community by providing new business, tourism, social and housing opportunities, along with the incorporation of low carbon technologies which are providing power to the community hub, paving the way for a vibrant and sustainable future on the Isle of Harris.