We have just bid a fond farewell to our visiting student party from Flensburg who have been carrying out fieldwork in Coigach over the last five weeks. All graduate engineers, the students who hail from four different continents, are currently undertaking post-graduate studies on the Energy and Environmental Master (EEM) Programme at Europa-Universität, Flensburg, Germany. Led by Prof Dr Bernd Möller, Dipl.-Ing Wulf Boie and social scientist Dorsi Germann the fourteen students braved wintry showers, gales and wind to visit households in Coigach to survey their energy needs. They also investigated various possibilities for the most efficient way of using any surplus electricity generated by our renewable energy schemes in the future. They looked at various scenarios in techincal and financial detail which they presented to the community at a well attended and very informative public meeting. One of the most impressive scenarios they presented, was the possibility of using excess energy from the community wind turbine and/or hydro scheme to power a district heating system concentrated on the community hub which includes the community hall, school and the social housing at Island View. Having studied a variety of options for community energy generation they found that some options would deliver a more substantial revenue stream for community benefit than others, though all were shown to be reassuringly profitable.
All this research provided free to the community is of inestimable worth to our projects and we are very grateful for the opportunity to gain from their financial and engineering expertise.
While they were very busy out in the field (and up the hill) measuring data, discussing wind and hydro energy generation, the students quickly got to know people in the community and enjoyed cups of tea wherever they went. At an impromptu ceilidh they proved to be naturals in the ceilidh world – adding Strip the Willow and other traditional dance steps to their portfolio of skills – and even have a blast on the bagpipes. However, able as they were in most areas, they had to accept a minor defeat to our local lads when Achiltibuie took on Flensburg International for a Sunday afternoon football match – and won.
Link to Community Energy Scotland’s post about the public presentation here: CES Report