Dumfries and Galloway success at European Sustainable Energy Week

At an award ceremony in Brussels on 25th June, Dumfries and Galloway was recognised as a leader in sustainable energy.

Community Energy Scotland’s Simon McKinney said: “Dumfries and Galloway Council and Highland Council are winners in this year’s Renewable Energy Sources (RES) Champions’ League not just for the impressive installed capacity of renewable generation in their areas, which includes public, private and community installations. They also win out on their range of community-led projects, and for the local authorities’ political commitment to positive change.”

Melissa Edwards from the Sustainable Development Team at Dumfries and Galloway Council picked up the third place award in the medium population category. Highland Council also took a third place in the category for areas with a large population.

The award includes recognition of the work undertaken through the ‘100% RES (Renewable Energy Source) Communities’. Ten communities from throughout the region, from Langholm to Gatehouse and beyond, are building the Dumfries and Galloway legacy for the project by developing and implementing actions from their very own Sustainable Energy Action Plans, a move which will cut greenhouse gases and reduce fuel poverty. This is of great benefit to our region as Dumfries and Galloway, out of the 32 Scottish local authority areas, has the sixth highest incidence of fuel poverty in Scotland with 23% of homes ‘uel poor and a further 13% extremely fuel poor.

Yannick Régnier, who manages the RES Champions League said: “Communities show from the ground that a 100% renewables long-term objective for Europe is not only realistic, but highly desirable.’ Yannick praised the local authority representatives for their political will to embrace sustainable renewables.”

Simon McKinney added: “I’m really proud that Scottish communities are showcased today and are each getting an award. The RES Champions’ League is all about encouraging sustainability and recognising the combined contribution of local community action and local authority support.

“Dumfries and Galloway and Highland Regions have significant rural populations who cannot access mains gas, so switching to renewables makes even more sense. Both areas have legions of community activists who commit their own time to local sustainability projects including renewable energy, waste reduction, local food and transport initiatives and specialist areas like the promotion of cycling in towns.”

Chair of the Economy, Environment and Infrastructure Committee Councillor Colin Smyth said: “We were pleased to showcase the many areas of environmental expertise from across the region, which not only cut carbon emissions but also help make the organisations which utilise them remain viable. We are proud that the 100% RES project puts Dumfries and Galloway on the European map for such a fundamental issue.”

Project Champion Councillor Ian Carruthers said: “It’s been great to be involved in this project over the last two years and see some of our local communities working up project ideas as part of their Sustainable Energy Action Plans. I’m looking forward to seeing them come to fruition and the communities that have been involved seeing the direct benefits in their back pockets whilst heading away from fuel poverty.”

For more information on the winners, and what the RES Champions’ League is about go to www.res-league.eu