The tiny island of Eigg off the coast of Scotland made a big push for ‘green energy’ recently. They designed their system to provide 95% of the electrical needs for the 87 residents of their island. This should be fairly straightforward, since the residents of the island are not big users of electricity to start with. They only received regular electrical service in February 2008.
The new ‘green energy’ system the residents of Eigg installed was designed to provide a meager 5kW (max.) of power per household. Via the Daily Mail:
Right now, however, their award-winning and highly complex eco-energy system, which allows each household access to a maximum of 5kW of energy at a time (enough to power a washing machine, a small heater or a kettle, but not all at once), is lying largely idle.
So the wind turbines are still and silent. The hydro turbines in the rivers and dams are quiet. And toasted teacakes and hot tea are off the menu at the Eigg Tearooms.
So what on earth’s going on? Have the Eigg eco-innovators been victims of some act of jealous vandalism? Has their award- winning electricity system blown a fuse?
Er, no. It turns out that when the good people of Eigg put their faith in strong winds and pounding rain to provide all their electricity needs, they overlooked one possibility – a spell of lovely weather.
Go figure, no rain or wind and the solar panels are not cutting it. Of course this is not a big deal to the residents of Eigg, but imagine how chaotic this would be in a large US City.
We’ve never taken electricity for granted,’ says Maggie, 61, has lived on Eigg for 34 years and has a daughter and granddaughter living nearby.
‘Until a couple of years ago, I was supplied by a tiny hydroelectric generator that produced a maximum of 1kW of power. Which powered my lights, TV and computer, but not a washing machine, electric kettle, toaster or anything like that. And I was one of the lucky ones.’
A few of her neighbours had no running water and others relied on their own generator which had to be turned on every morning by hand.
‘So if you got up for a pee in the middle of the night, you had to take a torch with you or fumble about in the dark,’ she adds.
‘And the noise was terrible. If you walked round in the evening, you’d hear a terrible thumping of generators.
If green energy can’t reliably provide power for 87 residents (who are not big consumers of electricity) how do supporters of ‘green energy’ propose we are going to power large US cities using windmills and solar panels?
Scenic, isn’t it..