Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is a partner in the Intelligent Energy Europe ‘BEAST’ project (Beyond Energy Action Strategies). From 2009 to 2012, the Comhairle led the ambitious ISLEPACT, Intelligent Energy Europe project, and produced a Sustainable Energy Action Plan (SEAP) for the Outer Hebrides.
The BEAST project now builds on this, and looks at ways in which the ISLEPACT SEAP can be implemented locally. In this context, a BEAST Workshop took place in Stornoway on the 3rd of December 2014, where a range of local partners met and focused on prioritising actions which will lead to a real improvement in the Fuel Poverty situation in the Outer Hebrides.
Representatives from the Comhairle, Hebridean Housing Partnership, Citizens Advice Bureau, Local Energy Scotland, and the Community Planning Partnership agreed that awareness raising among householders of tariff and energy efficiency issues is essential.
Beyond that, solutions include a Community Tariff, optimisation of Government Energy Efficiency programmes and research into innovative heating solutions.
In the longer term, the Outer Hebrides Energy Supply Company concept being developed by the Comhairle could facilitate community owned generation of renewable electricity and the retailing of that electricity to island consumers at a preferential tariff.
The BEAST project runs from April 2014 to October 2016 and, along with the Outer Hebrides, includes partners from Sweden, the Canaries, Cyprus, Croatia, Italy, Latvia and Norway.