Fair Isle residents to finally receive 24-hour power supply

A remote Scottish island will finally receive a guarenteed 24-hour source of electricity under new plans to increase its generating capacity.

Fair Isle south lighthouse. The remote island is set to finally gain a 24-hour power supply. Picture: Donald Macleod/TSPL

Residents on Fair Isle, which lies between in Orkney and Shetland, can face lights-out between 11pm and 7am when there is insufficient wind to generate power but £2.6 million has now been secured to ensure round-the-clock electricity.

The island, which lies 24 miles south of the Shetland mainland, has used a combination of wind and diesel power generation since the 1980s but only one of the existing two wind turbines is working and it has been operating intermittently for the past 18 months.

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Electricity generated cannot be stored and there is no space for new customers, so community group the Fair Isle Electricity Company is leading plans to install three 60kW wind turbines, a 50kW solar array and battery storage on the island.

In April, it was reported the community was looking for a nurse to move to the island.

With no doctor’s surgery, and transport links that are at the mercy of the weather, the 60-strong population has long relied on its resident nurse, a position first established at the turn of the 20th century.

Despite the advent of air travel and improved telecommunications, the island’s isolated location – it lies 24 miles south of the Shetland mainland – means the nurse has a crucial role to play in everyday life.

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