Work begins on pioneering £25 million green energy centre

by Search Gate staff. Published Mon 06 Jul 2015 14:47, Last updated: 2015-07-06
New energy centre will support plans for UK's first carbon-neutral university
New energy centre will support plans for UK's first carbon-neutral university

Scotland’s Deputy First Minister John Swinney has marked the official start of construction work on the Guardbridge £25 million green energy centre.

A state-of-the-art biomass facility, using only wood from sustainable local sources, will be built on the site of a former paper mill at Guardbridge and which will pump hot water from the plant four miles underground to heat and cool laboratories and student residences in St Andrews.

The green energy centre which is being delivered by St Andrews University will help to regenerate north east Fife by creating more than 225 jobs in the construction phase.

The University has developed the Guardbridge Guarantee as part of the project. This ensures that the project supports apprenticeship and graduate training, creating and sustaining jobs while working with the local community to promote environment and energy projects and local business.

Mr Swinney met representatives from the University and funders Amber Infrastructure to formally hand the site over to the construction team to start work.

Visiting the site, Mr Swinney said: “I am delighted to be in Guardbridge today as work begins on this innovative and ambitious project. By committing to the Guarantee, the University is ensuring that Guardbridge and the wider area will not only benefit immediately from the substantial number of new jobs and apprenticeships, but the surrounding communities will also continue to profit from the expected regeneration outcomes for years to come.

“At the same time the project will deliver significant carbon savings, as well as financial savings to the University.

“The Scottish Government is using all the levers at its disposal, including through European Funding initiatives, to help regenerate areas and maximise employment opportunities that help achieve sustainable economic growth.”

The green energy centre is a key part of the University’s drive to become the UK’s first carbon-neutral university for energy.

University of St Andrews Chief Operating Officer Derek Watson said: “This is an exciting day for the green energy centre, for the University and for the local community. After years of planning and consultation we are now seeing this project get under way.

“The start of construction work at Guardbridge represents a major strategic step for the University. We are committed to becoming carbon neutral for energy and this large industrial site lends itself to the creation of a range of renewable energies which are vital to our efforts to remain one of Europe’s leading research institutions.

“With the biomass at its heart, we believe the diverse range of potential uses at Guardbridge has the capacity to re-establish this huge site as a key economic centre in Fife.”

Cameron Cook, Head of Origination for Amber Infrastructure in Scotland, said: “The Guardbridge project is a ground breaking initiative that will deliver significant economic activity within the area and substantial environmental benefits in the form of carbon dioxide savings.

“Amber is delighted to be participating in the project, realising ambitions to help social, economic and green infrastructure in Scotland.”

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