St Andrews £25m Biomass Project Named as Finalist

We would like to congratulate the University of St Andrews on the news that their £25m biomass project at Guardbridge has been named a finalist at the 2016 Scottish Renewable Energy Awards.

This visionary scheme is one of only four to be shortlisted in the Sustainable Development category and Mike Cooke, Regional Director for Vital Energi commented, “Just as impressive as the scale of this energy project is the scale of the University of St Andrew’s ambition.  By stating clearly their ambition to become a carbon neutral university they are setting a great example for the Higher Education Industry and Scotland in general.

“This University has energy demands similar to many medium sized towns, so to create a scheme which reduces carbon emissions by over 6,000 tons per year is a fantastic achievement.  We have been proud to work towards these goals with the University and would like to congratulate them, along with the other finalists, who are making such a significant contribution to a low-carbon environment in Scotland.”

The project has transformed the former Guardbridge Paper Mill into an energy centre & education facility which houses the 8MW biomass boiler which transports heated water throughout a 23km district heating network connecting 37 buildings at the University’s North Haugh campus. The boiler is 87% efficient & will use 17,000 tonnes of locally sourced wood annually, reducing CO2 emissions by at least 6,000 tonnes per annum.  The heat network supplements the existing boiler plant with biomass generated heat.

In addition to the environmental benefits, we also signed up to the University’s Guardbridge Guarantee which ensures the economic and social benefits of the project are felt locally.  This has seen the creation of over 250 jobs on the project, and, where possible, we employed local suppliers, sub-contractors and staff.

Professor Verity Brown, Vice Principal (Enterprise & Engagement), said, “We are delighted to have been shortlisted for such a prestigious award against competition from across Scotland, which is an achievement in itself.  The energy centre at Guardbridge is a remarkable engineering project which would not have been possible without our partners, Vital Energi. We also acknowledge and appreciate the patience of local people in the realisation of this project.”

An important part of this project was to ensure local residents and businesses were fully engaged and understood the importance of the project and its impacts in areas such as road closures.  We collaborated with The University of St Andrews to hold a series of consultation events in both Guardbridge and St Andrews and other activities included leaflet drops, media advertising and extensive social media and online activity to ensure the community were engaged with the project at all stages. 

We would like to join with the University in thanking local businesses and people for their support and patience during this project.

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