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Stirling Council and Scottish Water Horizons join forces for pioneering renewables project

04 December 2018

Shaking hands on the pioneering project

Shaking hands on the pioneering project


Stirling Council has embarked on a ground-breaking project in partnership with Scottish Water Horizons that will be the first in the UK to use a mix of cutting edge renewable technologies to harness energy from waste water. 

The Stirling Renewable Heat Project will bring cheap, low carbon heat to the city through a district heating network, delivering a range of significant environmental and economic benefits. 

The Council and Scottish Water Horizons (SWH) have invested £1million and £3million in the project, respectively, with £2million coming from the Scottish Government’s Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme (LCITP) – funded jointly by the Scottish Government and the European Regional Development Fund. This brings the total investment in the scheme to £6million.

SWH will own and operate an energy centre, located at the existing Stirling Waste Water Treatment Works in Forthside, which will house the new technology. SWH will sell the heat to Stirling Council at an agreed rate and volume, which the Council will then sell on to users via the heating network. 

Initially, the heat will be distributed in the Forthside area to the Peak, Forthbank, St Modan’s High School, the Robertson Trust Barracks Development, Moray House, Jubilee House and the future Public Sector Innovation Hub.

In future, however, there is scope for the network to be expanded across the city to include homes, helping tackle fuel poverty and providing savings for businesses.

Local building services company FES have won both contracts for the project. Work is expected to be completed by April 2019.

The benefits of the scheme include: 

greater energy efficiency and savings for users
a reduction in carbon emissions
regeneration and economic development for the local community
local job creation and upskilling of workers
additional income for the Council over the long-term
no impact on air quality.

For the first time in the UK, a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) unit will be used with a waste water and heat pump system to deliver heat for a district heat network. 

The CHP will deliver renewable electricity to power the waste treatment site and combine with technology designed to recover heat from Scottish Water’s wastewater system, providing low carbon heat to the network in the form of hot water. Biogas, currently a waste product, will be stored for use in the heating network.

This pioneering project comes on the back of Stirling Council becoming the first local authority in Scotland to sign a Sustainable Growth Agreement with SEPA, underlining its continuing commitment to environmental protection. 

Councillor Jim Thomson, Convener of Stirling Council’s Environment and Housing Committee, said: “Making Stirling the first in the UK to harness this mix of cutting edge renewable technologies in this innovative initiative is a clear statement of our commitment to tackling climate change by reducing our carbon emissions and improving energy efficiency. 

“Our partnership with Scottish Water Horizons 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.” 

Councillor Danny Gibson, Vice Convener of the Environment and Housing Committee said: “As a council we have made major progress in sustainability, reducing our carbon footprint in a range of ways, and this partnership with Scottish Water Horizons shows our determination to lead the way on this important issue.” 

Paul Kerr, Head of Scottish Water Horizons, said: “With heat accounting for over half of the energy used in Scotland, Scottish Water Horizons is committed to contributing to Scotland’s low-carbon economy.

“Working alongside Stirling Council we are excited to be able to bring this sustainable heating project to life. Once up and running, this innovative mix of technologies will significantly help the council meet low-carbon targets while benefitting the local community and protecting the environment.”