Working towards a zero emissions and secure energy future of our islands
In November 2021, a group of interested islanders were delighted to host a visit for staff from the Samsø Energy Academy, who had been in Glasgow to receive a prestigious award at COP 26.
Samsø is a Danish island, geographically smaller than Mull but home to 20% more people. Working together the islanders of Samsø have developed local, renewable energy projects which mean they are already carbon negative and on target to be free of fossil fuels by 2030.
Inspired by the community’s work in Samsø, the AMAZE project (The Archipelago of Mull Actions for Zero Emissions) started in early 2022, as a collaboration between Mull and Iona Community Trust (MICT) and a group of local volunteers passionate about reducing islanders’ reliance on fossil fuels. EU funding allowed us to commission experienced consultants, Scene Connect Ltd, to undertake baseline research and studies, mapping the islands energy needs and opportunities for carbon reduction.
Our principal objective is to help transform our islands into a “zero emissions, energy secure, self-reliant, and thriving place with efficient homes and transport systems, all driven by a local community ethos”. Beyond the climate change imperatives, the transition is also directed towards community benefits from on-island renewable energy generation, reduced energy wastage, reduced energy bills and to promote local employment, particularly in the green economy.
As we conclude the study phase of the AMAZE project, we now want to put that work into ACTION. Seeking funds to recruit project staff to develop and deliver the work, organising more community workshops and putting the prioritised ideas into practice are key objectives from early 2024 onwards.
The preparatory studies included two components; the Clean Energy Transition Agenda (CETA) and a Feasibility Project. Both studies propose practical initiatives to begin the clean energy transition journey.
The Clean Energy Transition Agenda
The CETA, is packed full of valuable reference information to record the research process undertaken, energy data and proposed actions.
This study begins by recording the islands’ geography, economy, energy infrastructure and addressable carbon emissions. It then identifies the key stakeholders and a substantial review of the regulations and national policies that will influence the project development.
It continues with a summary of feedback from five community workshops held across the island in 2023; it records the various technology design options and the opportunities for reducing carbon emissions and how best to deliver the desired green energy transition.
It concludes with two appendices; a detailed review of funding opportunities available and a detailed record of the information gathered from the community workshops.
Feasibility Study on Electric Vehicle & Renewable Energy Hubs
As the CETA sets out a medium-long term plan for energy transition, the AMAZE Steering Group wanted to propose a first step project that could deliver community benefit within a shorter time frame. Therefore, a feasibility study was completed for the creation of electric vehicle and renewable energy hubs across the island. Although not in the feasibility study’s title, a key objective is to work with the committees from seven community halls on plans to improve energy efficiency and develop renewable energy generation at the halls. The renewable energy generated could also feed chargers for electric vehicles (EVs) near to the halls with the potential also to host EV Car Clubs at the sites. Enabling residents to use EVs in this way reduces reliance on fossil fuel vehicles and moves us more quickly to reducing carbon emissions.
If you’d like further information about the project please contact Ian Tibbetts, Nigel Burgess, Siân Scott or Moray Finch.
Ian Tibbetts from the AMAZE Steering Group, January 2024.