Scot-Govt. fund set up to kick-start new national water source heat-pump industry

Dave Pearson, Director, Star Renewable Energy
Dave Pearson, Director, Star Renewable Energy

The Scottish Government has today launched a new £2.3 million challenge fund to pump-start the country’s fledgling water source heat-pump schemes, which has huge – and as yet untapped – potential.

This new funding will kick-start the sector in Scotland and help meet the 2020 target of sourcing 11% of national heat demand from renewables.

Water source heat pump technology extracts heat from water even on the coldest days and uses the heat stored in water sources from rivers, canals, and lochs to supply low-carbon heat efficiently.

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The Water Source Heat Pumps Challenge Fund, which is part of the Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme, will support the development of large scale projects which need assistance to attract further investment. £375,000 is being made available to help with the development of investment grade business proposals.

The Challenge Fund is targeted at individuals and organisations from the public, private and community sectors with project proposals which can supply low carbon heat to district heating systems in Scotland but need to secure further investment to complete the installation of their scheme.

Support of up to a further £2 million will be available to those with a fully developed investment grade business proposal but who have been unable to identify private investment and are therefore seeking financial support for commercially viable demonstrator project activity.

Fergus Ewing, Scottish Energy Minister, said: “Supporting the development of district heating and wider low carbon technologies will help maximise the economic opportunities from Scotland’s low carbon sector.

“Heat is estimated to account for over half of Scotland’s total energy use and responsible for nearly half of Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions, so the imperative to take action is very clear.

“We have already made significant progress and will continue to work together with energy experts, businesses and communities to move towards our target of having have 40,000 homes connected to district heating by 2020.”

Dave Pearson, Director of Glasgow-based Star Renewable Energy – which provides heat-pump technologies – commented:

 “Anything that can be cooled is a viable source for a heat pump but the proximity, predictability and low-cost of harvesting river water currently makes them better than any other source – including geothermal or mine water.

 “The River Clyde, for example, could offer enough heat for 500,000 houses. The Forth Estuary, being in effect the North Sea is larger than required for all of Edinburgh.”

Professor David Sigsworth – chairman of the Scot-Govt’s Fuel Poverty Working Group – added: “I welcome the call for large scale Water Source Heat Pump projects targeting Scotland’s rivers, lochs and canals.

“Demonstration of the benefits of innovative projects like these to local communities is key to wider uptake and a further step towards the provision of low carbon low cost heat to more households in Scotland.”

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