Fed­er­a­tion cel­e­brates end of sus­tain­able en­ergy project

The Oban Times - - News -

THE SCOT­TISH Is­lands Fed­er­a­tion (SIF) held its an­nual gen­eral meet­ing at the At­lantic Cen­tre, Lu­ing, in late De­cem­ber.

Among other ac­tiv­i­ties, the board cel­e­brated the com­ple­tion of project SMILEGOV, a 30-month Euro­pean project funded by In­tel­li­gent En­ergy Europe.

The SMILEGOV project’s acro­nym de­rives from Smart Is­lands Gov­er­nance, a crit­i­cal con­sid­er­a­tion for is­land com­mu­ni­ties as­pir­ing to sus­tain­abil­ity.

The project sup­ported more ef­fec­tive ap­proaches to strate­gic en­ergy plan­ning and de­vel­op­ment of sus­tain­able en­ergy projects on is­lands.

SIF par­tic­i­pated along­side 11 other net­works span­ning 163 is­land au­thor­i­ties through­out the Baltic, Mediter­ranean and At­lantic re­gions and be­yond, nearly all rep­re­sented by lo­cal gov­ern­ment per­son­nel.

The ‘com­mu­nity non-govern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tion (NGO)’ model for lead­ing devel­op­ments on Scot­tish is­lands with which SIF has worked is dis­tinct and is of in­ter­est to other con­sor­tium mem­bers, mo­ti­vat­ing a study group of Es­to­nian is­lan­ders to visit Mull in June 2015. Par- al­lel pro­grammes of themed is­land en­ergy work­shops have ef­fec­tively pooled in­for­ma­tion, knowl­edge and per­spec­tives to en­hance ca­pac­ity for de­vel­op­ment of is­land en­ergy plans and projects through­out Europe.

In Ar­gyll and Bute, High­land and North Ayr­shire, SIF fa­cil­i­tated en­ergy au­dits un­der­taken by lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties in par­tic­i­pat­ing is­lands. Th­ese have been de­posited with the lo­cal au­thor­i­ties and will be re­viewed reg­u­larly.

Terry He­garty, SIF’s SMILEGOV Project Of­fi­cer, said: ‘ En­ergy Au­dits can sup­ply data es­sen­tial for im­proved en­ergy plan­ning, to en­hance the re­silience of is­land com­mu­ni­ties.

‘SIF has learned from SMILEGOV that best prac­tice en­ergy plan­ning for is­lands ideally in­volves all key in­ter­ests com­ing to­gether to take ac­tion, reg­u­larly re­view­ing lo­cal scope for ef­fi­cien­cies, fuel sub­sti­tu­tion and re­new­able gen­er­a­tion.

‘Else­where in Europe, this process is gen­er­ally led by lo­cal au­thor­i­ties, but on many Scot­tish is­lands com­mu­nity-led de­vel­op­ment trusts and sim­i­lar NGOs have a key role to play in shap­ing more sus­tain­able is­land fu­tures for them­selves.’

CHEERS: Chair­woman Camille Dressler, from Eigg, and trea­surer Frank Cor­co­ran raise a glass of Oban malt to SMILEGOV.

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