A one-day community conference is taking place at the Sunart Centre, Strontian, on Saturday 6 May to raise awareness of climate change issues amongst west coast communities and showcase a range of energy efficiency measures and renewable energy technologies and signpost relevant sources of funding.
Anyone with an interest in tackling the current energy challenge is invited to attend the conference, which will be chaired by Councillor Ian Ross, Chairman of The Highland Council’s Sustainable Development Committee.
He said: "This event is a very welcome step towards raising awareness of climate change issues amongst west coast communities. It’s the first of its kind in the West Highlands and we’re grateful to our partners, Sustainable Development Commission Scotland and Highland and Islands Community Energy Company for their help in delivering practical, accessible advice on cutting carbon emissions through energy efficiency and the use of small-scale renewables.
"The use of IT to link-up with the Westray Development Trust is particularly satisfying because it highlights that we don’t have to travel long distances and increase carbon emissions to share best practice between communities in peripheral rural areas. I’m very pleased that the Council is able to host this event at the Sunart Centre and would encourage anyone with an interest in tackling the current energy challenge to join us for what promises to be a very worthwhile, informative event."
The event will demonstrate how computer technology can be used to link communities in remote rural areas, while at the same time eliminating the need for travel, which in turn limits carbon emissions. Westray, one of Orkney’s most northerly islands, is using a diverse range of renewable energy technologies to sustain the island’s economy.
These include the production of bio-diesel for transport, small-scale wind turbines that generate electricity, heat generation from ground source heat pumps and a bio-waste digester that converts agricultural waste into heat and fertiliser. Following a DVD presentation on Westray’s use of renewables, the conference audience will be invited to put questions by video-link to Colin Risbridger from the Westray Development Trust.
The conference will also feature a presentation from Professor Graham Shimmield, Director of the Scottish Association for Marine Science, highlighting what the marine environment can tell us about climate change and its implications for Scotland, in particular, the west Highlands. Other speakers include Hugh Raven, Sustainable Development Commissioner for Scotland, and Eric Dodd, Manager of the Highlands & Islands Community Energy Company.
Conference workshops will cover energy efficiency and different renewable energy technologies including: solar heat and power; micro hydro schemes; woodfuel; ground source heat pumps, and small scale wind energy. There will also be a workshop on setting up a community renewables scheme.
The conference fee is £5, including lunch. The event is sponsored by The Highland Council, Highland and Islands Community Energy Company and Sustainable Development Commission Scotland. Booking forms can be obtained by Linda Campbell at BOSS, Fort William, telephone: 01397 701039; E:mail email@example.com