Local authorities in Scotland will share £4.4 million of funding allotted for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, to tackle fuel poverty and cut emissions.
Announced on 10 August, the funding is being awarded as phase 2 of Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Programme (SEEP), the cornerstone of the Scottish Government’s declared commitment to energy efficiency as a national infrastructure priority. It will be divided between 15 local authorities.
The stated aim of the SEEP programme is that, “wherever technically feasible and practical”, buildings are to be near zero carbon by 2035.
The funding was announced at Saughton Park in Edinburgh, where the Scottish Government’s Minister for business, innovation and energy, Paul Wheelhouse, was present at the installation of two large-scale ground source heat pumps for the Winter Garden and new building developments.
He said: “The SEEP Pilot programme is testing new approaches to improving energy efficiency and new ways of working in the public sector.
“The Scottish Government funding announced today is helping to unlock a larger package totalling over £12m covering a wide range of projects across Scotland, and these pilots will ultimately help inform deployment of the overarching SEEP programme that will see an estimated total of up to £10 billion invested in heat and energy efficiency in the period to 2030.”
Pilot projects for phase 1 of the programme were announced in October 2016, with £9.1m awarded to 11 local authorities. These pilots are due for completion in December 2017.
This latest cash award is intended to deliver an efficiency upgrade for homes, businesses, public buildings and community projects.
Recipients include the council in Falkirk, where a district heating network for three tower blocks will be extended, and a private wire network will provide electricity to a further seven tower blocks and a number of council properties. In Aberdeenshire, the funding will support community centre energy efficiency measures and renewable heat.
The phase 2 pilots will finish in February 2019.
The project is described as the first of its kind in Scotland. One element is maximising the potential of parks and green spaces to provide renewable heat.
Responding to the news, Stephanie Clark, Policy Manager at Scottish Renewables, said: “Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Programme aims to both reduce the amount of heat which is lost from homes and businesses and to decarbonise the way that heat is supplied.
“Both those aims are important if we are to tackle climate change while helping the 31% of Scottish households in fuel poverty.
“This funding targets both those aims and will provide benefits to communities as well as valuable financial savings for the local authorities which are involved.”