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Remote island gets 24-hour electricity

A new 24-hour electricity supply based on renewables has gone live on Fair Isle (Andrew Milligan/PA) Photo: PA Archive/PA Images

A remote British island has been given 24-hour electricity for the first time.

Fair Isle, a three-mile-long island halfway between Orkney and Shetland, previously had access to power only between 7.30am and 11.30pm via a wind turbine and diesel generators.

Now, a £3.5 million new renewable electricity system which went live on Friday means the 55 islanders will have a round-the-clock supply.

Fair Isle Electricity Company (FIEC), which led the project, hopes it will attract more residents and businesses.

The energy boost comes from a combination of three wind turbine generators, ground-mounted solar panels and battery storage.

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FIEC director Robert Mitchell said: “As an important project in a fragile rural area, having reliable renewable power will make a huge difference now and in the future, and we hope that it will encourage more people to come and live on the island.

“It also provides a great opportunity for more businesses to start here.

“The new energy system will be cleaner and greener and will reduce reliance on expensive diesel, hence making living costs more sustainable.

“It’s an ambitious project and is another step in ensuring that the community of Fair Isle continues to thrive.”

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The new system was backed by £1.5 million from the Scottish Government and £250,000 from development agency Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

Scottish Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands, Paul Wheelhouse said: “Those of us living on the mainland of Scotland can often take reliable supplies of electricity for granted.

“This has never been possible for the islanders of Fair Isle.

“The reality of having, for the first time in their history, 24-hour supplies of electricity presents exciting prospects for the Fair Isle community, who will not only benefit from access to a reliable electricity supply around the clock, but also now have in place a new cleaner, greener energy system.”