Drumnadrochit to develop a local energy plan

Drumnadrochit has been chosen as one of four communities to take part in the COBEN project. Soirbheas, the community charity for Glen Urquhart and Strathglass responded to the call for communities to take part in the project, putting forward Drumnadrochit as a community keen to address its local energy needs. The Community Benefits of Civic Energy (COBEN) project aims to evolve support for community energy to move from a focus of electricity generation supported by subsidies, to a more ‘whole system’ approach where communities’ energy generation, energy efficiency, heat, storage and future usage needs are all considered together.

Four areas in the Highlands and Islands Enterprise region have been chosen to take part in the pilot COBEN project to develop local energy plans. The selected areas are – Brae (Shetland Islands), Drumnadrochit, Barra and Vatersay (Western Isles) and Oban. These communities have been selected to reflect the range in sizes, locations, attributes and challenges that communities have across the Highlands and Islands.

Soirbheas was established to strengthen and support the communities of Glen Urquhart and Strathglass, through revenues from local renewable energy schemes. The funds received from these schemes is distributed to local community projects in the form of grants to help protect the environment and to provide and develop more resilient communities. Soirbheas’ Community Development Officer Carol Masheter said “Soirbheas has been involved in and supported several renewable and energy saving projects over the last 3 years; being part of the COBEN project presents a real opportunity to take a more holistic approach to plan for future community energy needs. We are very pleased to be part of the pilot and welcome the potential benefits it will bring to Drumnadrochit and other Highland communities.”

The four local energy plans will set out key priorities and opportunities and make recommendations and suggest practical projects for each community. Work in each area starts in October and local energy plans will be completed by mid-2018. Selected recommendations supported by the project will be implemented by October 2019.