System will be built on the site of a former Johnnie Walker bottling plant in Kilmarnock

The Scottish Government has awarded nearly £2 million to build the first geothermal heating system north of the border in nearly two decades on the site of a former Johnnie Walker bottling plant.

The 23-acre brownfield site at Kilmarnock, East Ayrshire is being redeveloped as a low-carbon development, incorporating a renewable energy centre and geothermal heating system.

The HALO regeneration scheme will receive £1.8 million from the European Regional Development Fund-backed Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme for a new geothermal heating system. It will provide low cost, renewable energy for new affordable homes and business units being developed on the site. There are two more geothermal plants in Scotland.

As well as “hundreds” of affordable homes, the site will include an enterprise and innovation hub for business startups, a renewable energy centre and commercial and leisure units.

The Scottish Government is investing a further £3.5 million in redeveloping the site, which has been donated by the plant’s former owner Diageo.

“As a responsible, progressive nation, Scotland must also continue to demonstrate strong leadership on climate change,” said Scottish economy secretary, Keith Brown.

“That is why I’m pleased that the Scottish Government will also be able to support our first new geothermal heating system in almost two decades, allowing local residents to access low carbon energy at an affordable price.

Responding to the announcement, Hannah Smith, policy manager at Scottish Renewables, said: “It’s great to see renewable energy playing a role in the revitalisation of such an iconic Scottish site.

“Geothermal energy has exciting potential in Scotland and could play a role in meeting our ambitious renewable heat targets, but only a handful of legacy projects exist today.

“The funding provided here through the Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme should enable the demonstration of the technology at scale and could serve as a launchpad for an industry able to tap the heat resource which lies beneath our feet.”

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