Stirling Council, alongside partner Scottish Water Horizons, has been awarded £100,000 to explore a pioneering heat solution for rural Stirling, with initial feasibility being carried out in Callander.
The first study of its kind in the UK, the project will investigate how waste heat extracted from the Callander Waste Water Treatment Works (WWTW) can be incorporated with thermal energy storage and distributed to remote and off-gas grid areas, combating rural energy and fuel poverty issues, such as a lack of fuel choice and higher energy costs.
Benefits will include energy demand reduction; energy savings; added resilience and security of heat supply, and possible income generation through opportunities for community ownership models.
There could also be opportunities for job creation and upskilling of local workers in low carbon and renewables. If successful, the project would be scalable and replicable across the Stirling Council area.
The joint application, known as the Callander Local Energy Opportunity (CLEO), is receiving funding from the Scottish Government’s Innovative Local Energy Systems (ILES) initiative. Supported by the European Regional Development Fund, this initiative is designed to accelerate the development and delivery of low-carbon infrastructure projects in smaller towns and settlements as well as remote, rural and off-gas grid communities.
Councillor Evelyn Tweed said: “Stirling Council has a large rural area, the majority of which show higher levels of fuel poverty than urban areas, due to lack of fuel choice as many are off gas grid.
“The higher capacity of the Waste Water Treatment Works in Callander and size of the population made the region an ideal choice for the pilot scheme.
“With council assets, including secondary and primary schools, plus a leisure centre, Callander can provide a successful concept project that would then be scalable and replicable across the area, to help alleviate fuel poverty and also to attract businesses to the area.
“This funding can help produce regeneration and economic development through reduced energy bills, as higher energy bills can be prohibitive to businesses setting up in rural areas.”
Scottish Water Horizons, a wholly owned subsidiary of the public utility Scottish Water, which is driving forward the organisation’s green agenda, is already enabling heat to be extracted from sewer networks to provide an alternative and affordable energy source.
Mari Davies, Scottish Water Horizons project manager, said “We are delighted to receive funding to enable us to look at new ways of storing and delivering heat in the Callander area.
“Within our sewer network there is massive potential for heat to be harnessed as renewable energy source. The challenge for us now is how we store this heat and get it to local homes and businesses that need it most.
“Using thermal energy storage in combination with innovative waste water heat extraction technology, we can test the concept in an area that is typical of many rural and remote areas across Scotland. If successful, there is opportunity for wider roll-out, helping to alleviating fuel poverty, providing local employment and contributing to Scotland’s circular economy.”