Highlands and Islands SNP MSPs Rob Gibson and Dave Thompson have congratulated the isle of Eigg after it was named as one of the winners of the NESTA Big Green Energy challenge.The island will now (along with two other community groups) share in the £1 million prize fund after seeing off 350 competitors. Eigg was named as one of the winners after it managed to slash its CO2 emissions by 32% in the last year by generating renewable electricity and installing insulation and solar panels to producing local food and developing low-carbon community transport schemes.
The community has been awarded £300,000.
Rob Gibson said…
"This is fantastic news for Eigg it is testament to the ingenuity and strength of the community. This a major achievement and shows that what happens on Eigg is among the most exciting developments happening in the UK I congratulate them on their achievement."
"It is also a vindication of what community ownership can achieve. I visited the islands last year and was heartened to see that the community is going from strength to strength. They are an example of what can be achieved. In the climate change era more and more communities will need to follow the lead that Eigg is showing. It is good to see the community be recognised for their forward thinking actions."
Dave Thompson said….
"The rural entrepreneurship of the Eigg is no great surprise. They think in innovative and creative ways to solve their problems and they do them in greener and cleaner ways, which is why they have won this prestigious award."
"I look forward to seeing what the community does next."
Mr Gibson has also lodged a motion in Parliament congratulating Eigg on their win.
NESTA is the largest independent endowment in the UK. Its mission is to support innovation to drive economic recovery and solve some of the UK's major social challenges. NESTA is a world leader in its field and promotes innovation through a blend of practical programmes, policy and research and investment in early-stage companies.
About the Big Green Challenge
The Big Green Challenge, launched in October 2007, is NESTA’s £1million challenge prize designed to support community-led responses to climate change. Through the Big Green Challenge, it has been our aim to unlock the potential power of community-led innovation and uncover what support communities need to transform their bright ideas into viable solutions that will improve all of our lives.
In early 2008, 355 groups came forward with a wide range of imaginative and practical ideas for reducing CO2 emissions in their communities. We selected 100 of the most promising groups, who received support from the Big Green Challenge team to develop their ideas into detailed plans. From this group, we shortlisted ten finalists who received funding and support to put their ideas into practice over the course of a year to compete for the £1 million prize. They had until October 2009 to reduce CO2 emissions in their community.
What have we learnt from the Big Green Challenge? When given the right incentives and support, communities are highly adept at coming up with new solutions. The Big Green Challenge received over 355 entries, including over 150 proposals from entirely new groups created in response to the challenge.
§ Nearly 60 per cent of the communities looked to achieve multiple outcomes, rather than the single outcome focus that is more typical of government campaigns.
§ This initiative reached individuals and groups that grant-led initiatives can’t: 40 per cent of the applications were from groups that are not registered charities, companies or public bodies.
§ The Challenge reached new audiences: More than a third of applications came from groups without a previous focus on environmental issues.
§ The process inspired more than just the winners: Over 50 percent of entrants who reached the second stage of the Big Green Challenge are continuing with their work despite not being selected as one of the ten finalists.
Isle of Eigg is an entire island community which is working together to reduce carbon emissions through a wide range of projects, from generating renewable electricity and installing insulation and solar panels to producing local food and developing low-carbon community transport schemes. This has led to a reduction in CO2 emissions of 32 per cent.
The Green Valleys is a community renewable energy scheme in Wales which has reduced carbon emissions by 20 per cent. Reductions were achieved across 155 households and 4 community buildings, including personal and community transport and the installation of a number of hydro schemes.
Household Energy Service (HES) is a free environmental survey service for local households in Shropshire, which has reduced carbon emissions by 10 per cent. Reductions were achieved through the provision of a home energy auditing service carried out by community volunteers and the subsequent energy efficiency actions carried out in 460 participating homes.
Low Carbon West Oxford (LCWO) was highly commended by the panel of judges. It is an environmental project featuring a range of community-owned renewable energy initiatives, which has reduced CO2 emissions by 28 per cent. These reductions were achieved across 55 households, including personal transport and community/ commercial buildings.