Fair Isle harbour on a sunny day

Pioneering low carbon island communities

Our off grid communities are forerunners in the low carbon agenda

There are seven off grid electricity networks in Scotland.

These are run and managed by the island communities in Canna, Eigg, Rum, Muck, Fair Isle, Foula and the west coast peninsula communities of Knoydart and Scoraig.

The networks provide services for around 500 permanent residents, growing to around 800 in the summer months, and to thousands of island visitors. 

Working together as a consortium, they are one of 26 successful bids from across Europe to become part of the EU Clean Energy for Islands initiative. 

It supports communities look at how they might decarbonise heat, transport and electricity supplies, serving as a long-term framework for action, identifying challenges and opportunities.

We're working with them, and their collaborative efforts are also being supported by Scottish Government, Highland Council, Shetland Islands Council and University of the Highlands and Islands.




Energy 2

Climate Change

Scotland’s world-leading climate change legislation sets a target date for net-zero emissions of all greenhouse gases by 2045.

Scottish Government climate change commitments

What are our communities doing and why?

As part of the EU Clean Islands programme the consortium of Highlands and Islands communities are working together on the best ways to deliver decarbonisation for their communities.

A successful off grid networking event with sector specialists and communities in December 2019 provided an opportunity to collectively look at opportunities and solutions in priority areas -  decarbonisation of heat, transport, electricity and how to make smarter use of energy. 


Clean energy

Action to combat climate change.


inhabited islands in EU


transition indicators to success in EU Clean Islands assessment


increase in renewable generation in Scotland 2017/18

The hot topics

As our communities begin the journey to net zero, hear more about the key priorities.

Decarbonising islands

Decarbonising heat and transport

Benefits of working together

There is an opportunity for Government and its agencies to ensure that any funding and support programmes take into consideration the specific needs of communities such as these.
Melanie Macrae, HIE Senior Development Manager
Foula Cropped


See our press release (2020) about how the communities are getting on in their EU Clean Energy for Islands work.

Progress on clean energy for EU islands initiative


View this report for an overview of energy systems across island communities in our region.

Small Islands Energy System Overview



CES is a registered charity providing practical help to communities on green energy development and energy conservation.

CES website


LES manage CARES - the Scottish Government's Community and Renewable Energy Scheme. We give communities, businesses and other organisations advice and funding in all aspects of local, renewable energy.

LES website

Where to now?

If these communities have inspired you, find out how we can help you in the Highlands and Islands.

The Shieling Project

The Shieling Project, an off-grid learning centre, that invites and encourages everyone to experience outdoor living, harnesses centuries old skills as a blueprint to a more sustainable future.

Knowledge Library

Browse our knowledge library to see our latest case studies and playback training webinars and podcasts.


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