Welcome to Eigg: The World's First Fully Self-Sufficient Island
Image courtesy of monkeypuzzle via flickr
If you've been looking for the ideal travel location in which to truly indulge your newfound eco-ethos, then look no further than the beautiful Isle of Eigg - a small island located off the coast of Scotland. Yes, through a mix of ingenuity and sheer will, the island's residents have managed to go completely off-grid - relying on a £1.6m system that draws power from a mix of local wind, solar and hydroelectric energy sources. The self-sufficient system, built to supply more than 95% of Eigg's annual energy needs and backed up by a battery storage system and two diesel generators (in case of an emergency), was a project 10 years in the making; engineers from Eigg Electric put the finishing touches on it this February 1. It links a total of 45 households, 6 community buildings and 20 businesses over a 6-mile high voltage network.
Households are allowed to draw up to 5 kW of electricity at any time - an amount that is only about one-half to two-thirds the amount used by a typical household in Britain (and a lot less than what a typical American household uses) - while businesses can draw up to 10 kw, reports The Christian Science Monitor's Emilie Boyer King.
Even though the system is only supporting around 80 people, it is a great testament to the ability of dedicated (and eco-minded) individuals to wean themselves off the convenience of fossil fuel-based sources - even under extenuating circumstances.