Bute renewables survey: full results published

THE complete results of Towards Zero Carbon Bute’s survey of opinion on Bute’s renewable energy potential have been published this week.

More than nine out of ten people who took part in the survey said they were in favour of the idea of generating all the island’s electricity needs from renewable sources, while almost as many said they were in favour of using at least ten wind turbines to generate some, or even all, of those electricity requirements.

TZCB project manager Reeni Kennedy-Boyle is now working on a definition of what a community-owned energy project on Bute might look like, and told us she hoped the organisation would be able to set out a way forward by the end of March.

“The consultation was very positive,” Reeni said, “and marks the beginning of our journey to what will hopefully result in Bute becoming one hundred per cent renewable. 

“There is a long way to go, however, and I am sure there will need to be a few more consultations as individual projects such as Ascog and the Bute Forest hydro plans progress on the island. 

“It seems clear that there is a great appetite for our community to become more self-sustaining economically and environmentally.

“I would like to think that renewable energy and energy efficiency measures will play an important part providing new employment opportunities, reducing our energy costs and increasing our contribution to the global goal of carbon reduction.”

Towards Zero Carbon Bute is part of Fyne Futures, the ‘sustainability’ arm of local housing association Fyne Homes, and is funded by the Climate Challenge Fund, a programme sponsored by the Scottish Government to support sustainable development in Scotland which has so far given backing to 345 communities across Scotland.

“We can take pride that over the last three years we are using more locally grown food, reusing and recycling a significant part of our waste, improving our energy efficiency through behaviour change and other measures and growing our use of renewable technology,” Reeni added. 

“We can add to that a growing number of people who are choosing to give up on their cars and use alternatives such as our community car club.

“We are demonstrating a ‘think global, act local’ way of living – much has been achieved and there is much to do.”

The results from the consultation are as follows.

Question 1: do you support the vision of Bute as 100% renewable?

Yes – 119 (93.7%)

No – 3 (2.36%)

If no, please give reason – 4 (3.15%)

Skipped question – 1 (0.79%)

Question 2: what benefits would you expect for the community?

Carbon footprint reduction – 82 (17.15%)

Local employment – 80 (16.74%)

Reduced energy costs – 76 (15.9%)

Energy efficiency improvements – 73 (15.27%)

Sustainable income – 57 (11.92%)

Increased community spirit – 54 (11.3%)

Green tourism – 40 (8.37%)

Other (please specify) – 13 (2.72%)

Skipped question – 3 (0.63%)

Question 3: what concerns you most about Bute’s energy use?

Climate change – 102 (22.87%), of which 49% were ‘very concerned’

Rising costs – 95 (21.3%), of which 67% were ‘very concerned’

Continuity of supply – 90 (20.18%), of which 27% were ‘very concerned’

Sustainability – 83 (18.61%), of which 33% were ‘very concerned’

Heating space – 75 (16.82%), of which 19% were ‘very concerned’

Question 4: below is a list of renewable technologies – please rate in order of acceptability.

Hydro power – 94 (17.22%)

Of those, 38 per cent said hydro ‘must be part of the mix’ of renewable energy on Bute; 15% said it should be part of the mix; 37% said it was acceptable, 5% said ‘somewhat acceptable’, and 3% said ‘not acceptable’.

Wind – 109 (19.96%), of which:

Must be part of the mix – 43%

Should be part of the mix – 16%

Acceptable – 34%

Somewhat acceptable – 4%

Not acceptable – 2%

Biomass – 83 (15.2%), of which:

Must be part of the mix – 23%

Should be part of the mix – 19%

Acceptable – 26%

Somewhat acceptable – 12%

Not acceptable – 2%

Anaerobic digestion – 76 (13.92%), of which:

Must be part of the mix – 25%

Should be part of the mix – 17%

Acceptable – 30%

Somewhat acceptable – 10%

Not acceptable – 2%

Heat pumps – 85 (15.57%), of which:

Must be part of the mix – 24%

Should be part of the mix – 15%

Acceptable – 45%

Somewhat acceptable – 6%

Not acceptable – 1%

Solar – 97 (17.77%), of which:

Must be part of the mix – 35%

Should be part of the mix – 23%

Acceptable – 31%

Somewhat acceptable – 4%

Not acceptable – 1%

Skipped question – 2 (0.37%)

Question 5: thinking about renewable energy from wind, which of these options would you choose?

3 turbines (10% of energy) – 4 (3.17%)

10 turbines (40% of energy) – 30 (23.81%)

22 turbines (60% of energy) – 27 (21.43%)

45 turbines (100% of energy) – 55 (43.65%)

Others – 4 (3.17%)

Skipped question – 6 (4.76%)

Question 6: thinking about renewable energy for your home, which of these are most interesting to you?

Domestic wind – 39 (17.97%)

Solar photovoltaic – 50 (23.04%)

Heat pumps (ground, air etc) – 32 (14.75%)

Micro hydro – 11 (5.07%)

Solar thermal – 44 (20.28%)

Biomass (logs, pellets, chips) – 33 (15.21%)

Skipped question – 8 (3.69%)

Question 7: what should our priorities be for spending income generated from renewables?

Insulation programmes – 62 (23.22%)

Low carbon transport – 51 (19.1%)

Micro renewable projects – 33 (12.36%)

Waste management improvements – 42 (15.73%)

Other community projects – 51 (19.1%)

Other (please specify) – 24 (8.99%)

Question 8: should communities take ownership of renewable energy generation?

Yes – 96 (76.8%)

No – 2 (1.6%)

Not sure – 20 (20 (16%)

If not us, who? - 4 (3.2%)

Skipped question – 3 (2.4%)

Question 9: what type of community energy company would you be willing to invest in?

Co-operative – 35 (26.92%)

Community benefit society – 25 (19.23%)

Special purpose vehicle – 24 (18.46%)

Wouldn’t invest – 14 (10.77%)

Skipped question – 3 (24.62%)