Imagine the delight of our Fermanagh & Omagh District Council partner to find a link between Fermanagh and the rich tradition of Scotch Whisky.
Our recent Partner meeting was hosted by University of Highlands and Islands and we were based in Inverness for a few days. Following two days of intense meetings, we escaped to the region for a few very interesting sites visits. Examples of small scale renewable energy projects, including trips to a community owned wind energy turbine, a small distillery which aims to be the first community owned distillery relaunching an ancient whisky and a locally produced gin, all utilising green energy and a visit to a local brewery specialising in organic beers again produced using renewable energy sources.
Our last site visit was to the Tomatin Distillery, which in 2013 became the first Scottish distillery to install an environmentally efficient wood pellet fuelled steam boiler which is used in their production process. The plant consists of a vertical shell nd tube boiler with a fixed grate that is coupled to twim 100m3 pellet silos with integrated loading , feeding and metering. Fuelled by locally produced wood pellets, from the Balcas plant at Invergordon, this 4MW biomass system boiler solution has largely replaced their heavy fuel oil usage, significantly reducing the carbon emissions for this traditional distillery set in the heart of the Scottish Highlands. This is in line with the Scottish Whisky Association’s industry-wide targets with the stated aim that by 2020, 20% of energy requirements will be derived from non-fossil fuels, rising to 80% by 2050.
We are very excited by the prospect of introducing our international partners to the home of Balcas at Ballycassidy on the outskirts of Enniskillen when we host the partner meeting in late 2017.
The GREBE Project met in Scotland last week for their third project meeting. As part of the meeting, GREBE met with another NPA funded project ‘FREED’ on Monday 5th June to discuss synergies between the two projects. We then had two days for meetings to discuss the project activities and the reports on policy initiatives, funding mechanisms and climatic challenges of the NPA region which we will publish in September. On the fourth day of our meeting, our Scottish partner, the Environmental Research Institute (ERI) organised site visits to look at renewable energy technologies in use in different areas.
Our first visit was to Dingwall Wind Co-Op http://dingwallwind.org.uk/. The Dingwall Wind Co-op owns and runs a 250kW wind turbine just above Dingwall in Ross-shire. The turbine is the first 100% co-operatively owned wind development in Scotland. The co-op was launched in September 2013 and the turbine was commissioned on the 16th of June 2014. There are 179 members of the co-op, 90% of whom are from the local area. The co-op will contribute to a community fund estimated at between £2000 and £8000/year. Members of the co-op receive a good return on their investment and EIS tax relief. The landowners, who originated the project, receive a rental payment for use of their land.
Our next visit to John McKenzie at Scroggie Farm http://flyingfarmer.co/john-mckenzie/green-energy. Using his own farm as a starting point, in 2009 John took his various experiences, particularly those from visiting the remote islands of Scotland, and embarked on a number of projects to promote local energy production and saving. The result is a farm that harnesses the wind, rain and sun for energy production. The systems at the farm include Wind, Hydro(on and off grid), Solar PV, Solar Gain, Solar Thermal, Biomass, Electric Car. Off-grid hydro equipment supplied by Powerspout Hydro Turbines.
We then visited to Black Isle Brewery http://www.blackislebrewery.com/, which is an organic brewery and use a biomass fed boiler to heat their HLT.
Our last visit of the day was to see a new 4MW biomass steam boiler at Tomatin Distillery http://www.tomatin.com/. This biomass boiler is fuelled by locally produced wood pellets, provided by Balcas which allows Tomatin to displace the majority of the distillery’s heavy fuel oil and, in doing so, cut its carbon emissions.