Scottish venture intowater-sourced District Heating at scale
By: Michael McGuinness, Economic Development Manager, West Dunbartonshire Council
How do we as a small nation contribute to the climate change emergency? What can a local authority public body do to reduce our Carbon footprint and provide green energy at affordable prices? West Dunbartonshire Council is a small Local Authority supporting 90,000 citizens west of Glasgow, the host city for COP26 in November 2021, and located next to the famous Loch Lomond Trossachs national park with its wonderful natural environment. A new District Heating Energy Centre Most of the Local Authority has the banks of the River Clyde along its length. And our new District Heating Energy centre takes pride of place at the heart of what was the John Brown Shipyards where the three magnificent ocean-going liners of the Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth, and Queen Elizabeth 2 were constructed and launched. Those traditional industries have long gone in our main town of Clydebank; however, we continue to strive and regenerate our communities in particular large vacant and derelict sites such as this site we now call Queens Quay. The Council, in partnership with the landowners, embarked on a venture to transform the former shipyard site many years ago. We have seen some successes with a new College complex, two office blocks, and a new Leisure centre developed. We also have the oldest giant cantilever crane in the world in the Titan Crane, which operates as visitor experience facility. In the last few years, the Council has built a ninety-bed care home, a new block of 149 social homes is coming out of the ground, along with a magnificent new Health centre for our
community, all due for completion in late 2021. The journey to regenerate the site regained impetus about five years ago, and one of the early ambitions was to ensure that the Council could contribute to our Climate Emergency and look at how we could provide green energy across the site, reducing our carbon footprint. Water-sourced heat pumps Early studies were embarked on with several expert consultants, and we came across a local Glasgow company Star Refrigeration. They were very keen to look at water- sourced heat pumps, primarily based upon their Drammen experience many years previously. Our site was next to the tidal River Clyde, and we had an ideal basin arrangement to extract and deposit the large volume of seawater required to run a district heating energy centre. The Council and partners were convinced following our visit to All-Energy exhibition and guidance from our consultants together with an introduction to some very knowledgeable Danish veterans in heat supply that we could make this work. However, this would require significant Capital funding and commitment from the Council. The Scottish Government had introduced a competitive grant funding entitled Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme in 2015 made up of European Structural Funds. Following a feasibility study, we pulled together a £12.1m application seeking £6.1m from the fund. Following extensive discussions and a significant amount of work developing a working financial modelling tool, we embarked on developing the District Heating network at Queens Quay.
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