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Cta Man
CBaB Turbine & Alaria Sample Site 1 Barra and Vatersay

Coimhearsnachd Bharraidh agus Bhatarsaidh

Island pioneers sharing learning in the local energy economy.

Pioneering community-led sustainable energy development

Coimhearsnachd Bharraidh agus Bhatarsaidh (CBaB) is a community owned company which supports sustainable community development on Barra and Vatersay, the two most southerly inhabited islands of the Outer Hebrides.

CBaB has delivered a variety of projects over the years, including the development of a marina, a community wind turbine, essential slipways, various coastal erosion prevention works, and a range of renewable energy initiatives stemming from a Local Energy Plan.

Its latest ambitious projects are a pilot seaweed farm, a hydrogen production proposal and an active travel promenade for the Herring Walk in Castlebay. 

The company is managed by a voluntary board of directors drawn from the company membership, which numbers around 270 people. 

We have the potential to produce renewable forms of energy locally, and supply and use them locally, retaining the income in the community and helping to tackle the serious issues of fuel poverty. What we need is legislative change.
Euan Scott, project officer, CBaB

Developing and delivering a low carbon plan

CBaB’s primary low carbon focus is renewable energy and energy efficiency. It manages the operation of the community wind turbine, and also a community benefit fund called Spagan which distributes surplus funding it generates.

It's involved in a range of projects and initiatives linked to the Local Energy Plan. Current projects include:


Barra and Vatersay's energy innovation and expertise

Our north island communities (Outer Hebrides, Orkney and Shetland) are building an international reputation as pioneers, delivering carbon transition as part of social and economic development.

CBaB sees the potential for island communities’ experiences to lead change. By combining renewable resources with a holistic approach to energy use, in a setting where development is interconnected, island communities present valuable potential as a microcosm for wider learning - a 'natural laboratory'.

Through its work, the CBaB team has developed high level project management skills and knowledge of energy vectors and how they apply in the local sector. As well as using that experience to deliver individual projects - tackling fuel poverty, in transport and mariculture - they also share learning across wider networks focused on heat decarbonisation. 


CBaB has also engaged with various MSc and PhD students and other academic research in the renewable energy and energy efficiency fields.

These have included a University of Dundee PhD in climate change, a University Edinburgh MSc research programme exploring the technical and economic feasibility of decarbonised heating solutions and island-wide energy modelling of low carbon energy solutions for Barra and Vatersay, and a project involving the Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the University of Strathclyde that was looking at decentralised water technologies.

View Of Vatersay Bay (Context For Tobhair An Eilean)

Mariculture - our food from the sea

Tobhair an Eilean, a trading subsidiary of CBaB, is working with Aquamoor Ltd to deliver a pilot seaweed farm based in Vatersay.  

CBaB has also partnered with Natural Power to develop and assess the techno-economic and commercial viability of low carbon solutions to pre-process seaweed from the farm. Breeding and propagation options are being explored with Hortimare B.V. and the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) in Oban. In the future, CBaB also plans to investigate further potential to progress mariculture in respect of a seaweed nursery and bivalve hatchery to maximise the direct and indirect benefits to the local economy.

The project is also exploring various funding opportunities to provide the necessary infrastructure (jetty, pontoon, etc) as well as to demonstrate the use of electric work boat and electric boat taxi to support carbon transition.


Community Wind Turbine Eoligarry CBaB

Hydrogen production in a low carbon economy

A developing partnership between CBaB and TechnipFMC aims to take advantage of Barra's coastal location and raw energy resources to pilot an offshore hydrogen storage with wind energy project.

The TechnipFMC Deep Purple integrated technology solution is currently under development and is ready for deployment – and the combination of usable land and a fringe-of-grid location leads to a testing location that mirrors conditions found in fully offshore locations where TechnipFMC plans to deploy the Deep Purple solution in its full commercial state.

CBaB hopes that establishing a legacy low-carbon energy asset in the Southern Outer Hebrides will promote further growth across various sectors while inspiring other communities to take similar action. Among other benefits, investment in these technologies can lead to a more resilient local grid that lends itself to on-island economic development while providing flexibility for energy exports.

The team is currently working through stakeholder engagement and scoping activities as engineering and project management plans are progressed. Input from groups such as SSEN, CMAL and Scottish Water has been incorporated into the Uist and Barra Energy Roadmap. 

Herring Walk

Herring Walk bringing community together

CBaB is working with TGP Landscape Architects to renovate the Herring Walk and establish safer routes for pedestrians and cyclists in and around Castlebay. Work will improve the condition of the fragmented footways and challenging gradients that significantly constrain safe access and mobility.

The project has achieved full planning permission, and consultation is ongoing to to address traffic management around the harbour. The ultimate aim is to deliver a seamless, active travel link between East and West Castlebay, making sure paths are inclusive to all people and all types of low carbon wheeling.

The Herring Walk builds on other local green transport projects including the provision of e-bikes at the Castlebay Marina and EV chargers across the islands’ green transport hubs.


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