The village of Brae is on the north mainland of Shetland, on a narrow isthmus that separates the mainland from Northmavine. The small fishing village expanded rapidly in the 1970s and 1980s with the construction of the nearby oil terminal at Sullom Voe and now has a population of over 700 people.
The community-led Local Energy Plan for Brae was developed in 2018 to help the community to look at its existing and future energy needs in terms of power, heat and transport and work out the priorities for action.
Developing Brae’s Local Energy Plan
The development of Brae’s Local Energy Plan has been led by a local steering group and supported by Delting Community Council, who put Brae forward to be involved in the pilot to develop the plan.
Specialist technical support to develop the plan was provided by the Wood Group, with Beyond Green supporting local engagement activity and local ambassadors for the plan making sure local people had the opportunity to contribute to the creation of the plan.
Beyond Green facilitated a series of three workshops held in early 2018 to support the community to identify its specific energy needs and inspire local ambassadors to drive community engagement.
During workshop one the local ambassadors were asked to consider the UN’s sustainable development goals (SDGs). This helped stimulate discussions around their own community’s needs and challenges. Using the goals as a connection to local energy, a number of criteria to assess local energy projects were raised. Those criteria were then tested through an online and paper survey, promoted by the ambassadors to the community to gather wider opinions.
During workshop two, local ambassadors reviewed a number of energy opportunities which support their community’s needs. The opportunities presented to the ambassadors were specifically targeted from ideas identified in the first workshop. Impacts of the survey results on the criteria were reflected on, as well as opportunities to obtain further responses.
Workshop three used the survey results and interactive exercises to help them prioritise energy opportunities in line with community interests and needs. Feedback from the ambassadors and the steering group are integrated into the final Local Energy Plan.
Implementing the plan
The local energy plan was promoted at the Come to Brae Days on 30 June and 1 July 2018.
The capacity to progress the identified actions has been limited amongst those who were involved in developing the plan. One community-based organisation investigated installing a water source heat pump, but decided not to pursue this.