Iona Renewables’ dual purposes are to advance environmental protection and improvement and community development on the island of Iona. Iona Renewables pursues these purposes through:
Identifying opportunities to maximise renewable energy generation, storage and use on Iona through feasibility work;
Securing funding and overseeing delivery of projects, for instance, for reduced energy demand and sustained carbon-saving behaviour change — or where projects involve development of an asset such as the Iona Heat Network, progressing projects to an appropriate stage where they are taken over by the trading subsidiary;
Maximising opportunities for community ownership and benefit;
In due course, where community benefit is generated, reinvesting resources to support social, economic and environmental sustainability of the island;
Ensuring excellent partnership-working and community engagement and support.
Our starting point was an island Energy Audit (2015) which demonstrated that (aside from some small-scale generation from solar panels) 100% of the island’s energy is currently imported, much of it high carbon and unsustainable, and 100% of revenue from energy (approximately £330,000 per year) is exported back off the island again. Subsequent feasibility work (2016–17) showed that a great deal could be done to change the types of energy used as well generating up to 100% of it cleanly and sustainably from local renewable resources.
As a result of Iona Renewables’ activities, funds will be able to remain on the island with all profits used in due course to support local social, economic and environmental sustainability, as well as running costs being reduced. The visitor economy, which is so important to the island’s economy, will benefit from significant investment and further strengthen its environmental credentials.
The Energy Audit was supported by CARES and Scottish Islands Federation and carried out by a qualified resident.
The feasibility study – Maximising Renewable Energy Generation, Storage and Use on Iona – was supported by CARES.
Jane Martin – Chair of Iona Renewables and Iona Energy Ltd.
Jane Martin grew up in central Scotland and studied geography but moved to Iona fifteen years ago to work in the medieval Abbey and talk about history every day. Now she looks after a variety of historical sites across the west coast and a dispersed team of passionate staff. Outside work, Jane has several community roles and enjoys gardening.
Philip Ruhemann – Secretary of Iona Renewables and Iona Energy Ltd.
Philip Ruhemann comes from an environmental background which includes an MSc in Human Ecology and Resource Management and roles with various environmental organisations such as Friends of the Earth Scotland and the Scottish Environmental Education Council.
Philip carried out the Scottish Island Federation funded Iona Energy Audit in 2016 which quantified the heavy use of carbon based fuels on the island and the associated costs of its use.
He lives on Iona with his family where he works as a psychotherapist.
John MacInnes – Treasurer of Iona Renewables and Iona Energy Ltd.
John has a degree in environmental science and technology, and extensive environmental management and business experience, including as farmer and events consultant for Agriscot (Scotland’s farm business event) and Gardening Scotland.
Katy Russon – Iona Renewables trustee and Iona Energy Ltd. director
Katy was born and raised on Iona and recently returned after studying and working in Glasgow for 16 years. After completing her studies, she worked as a lawyer for 10 years with a third sector organisation, specialising in Social Welfare Law and Civil Litigation. She now lives back on Iona, along with her husband and 2 children, and is a full time owner operator of the Argyll Hotel.
Neil Jardine – Iona Renewables trustee
Neil grew up on Iona and returned to the island six years ago. He studied Environmental Science at the University Of Stirling and then spent time abroad teaching English in South Korea and working in Australia. Since returning to Iona, Neil has set up his own seafood business and has also become a member of the Volunteer Fire Service and the Harbours Committee. In his spare time Neil enjoys playing golf and football.
Rick Johnston – Iona Energy Ltd. director
Rick was born and raised on Iona and recently returned after studying and working, predominantly in Aberdeen, for 25 years. After completing his studies, he worked initially as a software engineer before forming his own corporate entertainment company, specialising in employee engagement, which he ran for 14 years. He now lives back on Iona, along with his wife and 2 children, and is a full time owner operator of the St Columba Hotel