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Ross group aids electric car project

By SPP Reporter

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The project hopes to install a network of rapid electric car charging points in the Highlands.
The project hopes to install a network of rapid electric car charging points in the Highlands.

A BLACK Isle group is part of an ambitious project to introduce a network of rapid electric charging points for cars in the Highlands.

The project, Action Highland Highway, envisages that the charging points will be powered by local energy generation and incorporate energy storage.

The project is in the first phase of a feasibility study which will involve:

• Community consultation on the use and ownership of electric vehicles;

• Identification of potential sites linked with energy use and journey aspirations;

• Modelling and identifying the different technologies involved; and

• Building a business model that will develop community, local authority and agency support.

Action Highland Highway is a community project, led by Highland Council which will be developed by three community groups - Transition Black Isle, Caithness Rural Transport and Community Energy Scotland.

The project has received phase 1 funding through the Scottish Government’s Local Energy Challenge Fund.

Martin Sherring, of Transition Black Isle, said: "Long distances in the Highlands mean that ‘range anxiety’ is a serious barrier to electric vehicle use.

"We hope this project will reduce the barrier by enabling electric vehicle owners to recharge at their destination, ready for the trip home.

"And we aim to tick some other important boxes too, ensuring the electricity used is from renewable sources, re-using batteries which would otherwise become a waste disposal problem, and generating income for local communities."

A key ambition of the project is to help strengthen electricity networks in rural areas, through smart control of charging times, and the use of energy storage.

Felix Wight, Head of Development at Community Energy Scotland explained: "Combining renewable energy with electric vehicles could be a double win for Highland communities, by allowing new energy generation projects to connect to areas of the grid that have limited capacity, and providing a source of sustainable electric fuel from local resources."

Wester Ross Highland councillor Audrey Sinclair, who chairs the planning, development and infrastructure committee, said: "Action Highland Highway is an exciting project for the Highlands, with the potential to significantly increase electric car usage across the region through the development of a charging network built around renewable energy. This can only be a positive step forward in reducing the carbon footprint of the region."

• Survey details can be found at http://www.caithnessrenewables.co.uk/welcometoourservices.html

The closing date for comments is October 28.

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