Pairc Niseaboist Community Energy Project
The creation of a new development with a community venue, business facilities, affordable and self-build housing is a major step forward for the area. The addition of the planned wind turbine to power the centre will bring additional benefit. However the Trust realised that the integration of energy supply and demand across the whole site and the potential to link it to a small wave energy project in the Sound of Taransay could bring even greater benefits to the local community.
Successful applications to the Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme and the Local Energy Challenge Fund in summer 2015 led to support for feasibility work into the Pairc Niseaboist Community Energy Project. A Feasibility Study was produced by Smarter Grid Solutions which calculated energy demand and supply on site under a range of scenarios. It showed that additional properties in the development scheme could be linked to the community building in a range of shared heating and electricity supply systems, but ruled out using battery storage back-up for times of low wind and power outage. The Seabed Survey identified an area approximately 2km offshore where a small wave array (45 or 75kw) being developed by Albatern could be placed. It also showed that there is a potential route for a cable to shore but further studies will be necessary to identify whether there is sufficient sand/sediment depth to allow for mooring of a system and to protect a transmission cable. A Waverider buoy was placed in the Sound of Taransay to measure wave heights etc. in July 2015 and will be removed early in 2016.
The community were first informed of the proposed studies at the AGM in June 2015 and information on findings was presented at a community meeting in October 2015. A further meeting was held with local fishermen who were happy that the potential size and location of a development would not adversely impact upon fishing activities.
The Trust will be commissioning detailed design of a private energy supply network for the buildings at Pairc Niseaboist in November 2015 to enable decisions to be made early in 2016 when Hebridean Housing Partnership is due to start constructing 6 house units. It is intended to erect a 100kw wind turbine in April prior to the centre opening in May. It is also intended to carry out further seabed investigations to confirm whether or not a small wave energy scheme linked to the development is practical.