Ambitious government and utility targets for renewable energy as part of a ‘low carbon transition’ mean that the winds and waves of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland have a new found value. The region is becoming a site for large renewable energy projects, as well as opening up opportunities for local communities to develop their own projects. In this paper, Joseph Murphy and Adrian Smith consider how perceptions and responses to these transformative possibilities are coloured by the regions cultural history. The region has a long history as a ‘resource periphery’, with distant powerful actors coveting and exploiting the region for resources, such as the Highland Clearances for sheep grazing in the 18th century. Recent laws empowering communities to buy their land are opening up opportunities for them to play a greater role in shaping current ‘transition-periphery’ dynamics.