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Articles by Katharine Wroth

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  • Dancing ladies bring joy to wee island

    No, not that kind of dancing lady. We're talking wind turbines.

    In the ongoing saga of how they do it better in the U.K., the scrappy residents of Gigha, a tiny island in Scotland's Inner Hebrides, built themselves three turbines. They partnered with a company called Green Energy U.K., and a couple of weeks ago, this greenpower project saw its first green. Profits from the community enterprise, expected to reach the equivalent of $140,000 a year, will go toward housing and other improvements. The 98-foot-tall turbines, fondly known as "dancing ladies," can also provide two-thirds of the island's energy.

    To give you an idea what kind of place Gigha is, check out how its 100-odd residents approved the turbine project: "The decision to go ahead on Gigha was made via a unanimous show of hands, by islanders, in the village hall."

    It's not the first time these activist islanders have rallied 'round a cause. In 2002, when a private owner put the seven-mile-long chunk of land on the block, residents decided to buy it, with the help of grants and a million-pound loan. To pay back the loan (nearly $2 million), they held quiz nights, soup 'n' sandwich days, and rows around the island -- oh yeah, and sold a huge 19th-century mansion now open as a B&B. See the whole story, including drawings of the turbines by some of the island's 13 schoolchildren. Yeehaw, Gigha!