Ground-breaking heat network officially opens in Scotland

A ground-breaking heat network harnessing energy recovered from wastewater has been officially opened by Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon.

The network will be fed with hot water by a new energy centre at Scottish Water’s treatment facility in Stirling, which features heat pumps, a combined heat and power unit and thermal storage. It is the first heat network in the UK to be supplied in this way.

The biogas boilers for the existing anaerobic digester on the site will also be integrated into the energy centre, which in turn will provide any top-up heat required by the digester over winter.

The network is being delivered by Scottish Water Horizons and Stirling Council, which have respectively invested £3 million and £1 million in the project. It also being supported by £2 million of funding from the Scottish Government’s Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme.

It will initially provide heat to a number of key public buildings, including the Peak Leisure Centre, Forthbank Stadium and St Modan’s High School, as well as organisations such as Zero Waste Scotland and Volunteer Scotland.

Sturgeon was taken on a tour of the energy centre yesterday (7 August) as it began final preparations before being switched on by early September.

“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,” said the first minister.

“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 waste water 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,” she added.

Scottish Water chief executive Douglas Millican said: “Sustainability is vital for homes, businesses and services and using the energy from waste water 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.”