Assisting Communities to Connect to Electric Sustainable Sources
The ACCESS or ‘Assisting Communities to Connect to Electric Sustainable Sources’ Project is all about making the most of the renewable energy potential on the Isle of Mull, using that energy to heat local homes efficiently and affordably.
This simple idea arose through the experience of Mull and Iona and Community Trust, in the course of their involvement in the community owned hydro project at Garmony, which is now up and running. At one stage in the project it looked like there wasn’t going to be enough space on the electricity grid on the mainland to accommodate the extra renewable energy that would be coming from Mull.
It seemed amazing that you could actually have ‘too much’ of something as essential and valuable as electricity, but that is the reality of the stresses and strains that the rapid growth of new renewable energy technologies are putting on existing grid infrastructure.
It also felt like a missed opportunity when all that energy could be used to help power and heat the homes of people living on Mull- where a bit of extra warmth wouldn’t exactly go amiss!
While the Trust were able to work with the local grid operator, Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution, to find a solution, other community energy groups haven’t been so lucky.
So with an eye to future energy projects on Mull, and to help support other community projects across Scotland, the Trust decided to work with Community Energy Scotland and SSE to help make that ‘simple’ idea a reality.
Because things aren’t so simple in practice the team decided to bring in some experts. VCharge are the company who have designed the smart new system that will be able to exactly balance the electricity produced at the Garmony hydro scheme with demand for electricity for heating on Mull and significantly reduce the reliance on the grid infrastructure on the mainland. Element Energy are working out the additional benefits of this approach and how we can roll it out across Scotland.
To find out more about the ACCESS Project please take a look around our website and watch the ACCESS video guide.