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Ground-breaking Scottish Water Horizons energy hub launched

First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon has officially opened a £6 million energy hub that will deliver low-carbon heat to people in Stirling.

The facility, at Forthside in Stirling, harnesses energy from wastewater through a mixture of cutting-edge technologies, and is the first in the UK to deliver heat in this way.

The project is being delivered by Scottish Water Horizons in partnership with Stirling Council, with additional funding provided by the Scottish Government.

The Stirling District Heat Network will pump low-cost and low-carbon heat generated from wastewater from the adjacent treatment works serving the city.

It is projected to save 381 tonnes of carbon each year – the equivalent of 1.5 million miles driven in an average petrol car.

Sturgeon visited the facility, which will deliver low-carbon heat and energy cost savings to a number of key public buildings, for its official opening as it enters final preparations for the big switch-on by early September.

She said: “Earlier this year, Scotland became one of the first countries in the world to acknowledge the fact that we are facing a global climate emergency, and it is only right that we take appropriate action.

“I am proud of the bold, innovative and world-leading policies we are implementing to address the climate crisis we face.

“The Stirling District Heat Network project is a fantastic example of this, using wastewater to help provide energy to local public buildings and businesses. It is a great demonstration of how we can work collaboratively to make a real difference.”

Representatives from Scottish Water, Scottish Water Horizons and Stirling Council welcomed Sturgeon to Stirling Waste Water Treatment Works and hosted a tour of the newly built energy centre.

The First Minister heard how the project will deliver a range of significant environmental and economic benefits, with scope to expand the scheme further.

Scottish Water chief executive Douglas Millican accompanied the First Minister on her tour of the facility.

He said: “Sustainability is vital for homes, businesses and services, and using the energy from wastewater is a great example of using resources to their maximum benefit. This new scheme in Stirling will go a long way towards helping reduce our carbon footprint and protecting the environment.”

Paul Kerr, managing director of Scottish Water Horizons, said: “We are very proud to have this project recognised by the First Minister for its contribution to reducing Scotland’s carbon footprint.

“Scottish Water Horizons is dedicated to supporting the Government in their ambitious carbon-saving targets, utilising Scottish Water’s asset base to create a greener Scotland, whilst reducing costs for our customers.”

Stirling Council's leader, Councillor Scott Farmer, said: “Making Stirling the first place in the UK to harness this mix of cutting-edge renewable technologies shows Stirling Council is determined to lead the way on tackling climate change by reducing our carbon emissions and improving energy efficiency.

“This innovative initiative will deliver cost-saving benefits to the council and residents, generate additional income for many years to come and benefit communities in the form of regeneration and jobs in the growing renewables sector.”

Stirling-based building services company FES is delivering the project on behalf of Scottish Water Horizons and Stirling Council.

Scottish Water is developing a long-term plan for SR21 as it seeks to help the Scottish Government reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045 at the latest. Read our interview with the company's director of strategic customer service planning, Simon Parsons, by clicking here

Author: Robin Hackett, editor, WWT
Topic: Energy/Water Nexus , Innovation , Sustainability & social value
Tags: Scottish Water , energy , wastewater

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