Shetland Islands gains through district energy initiatives

The Shetland Islands have seen two district energy schemes awarded government support worth $597,000.

Angus Grains of NorthFish is in the process of creating a network of small district heating schemes to be powered by wood pellets that have been dried using wind energy.

On Monday, two 195-kilowatt wood-pellet-fuelled biomass district heating schemes, one in Brae and one in Lerwick’s Gremista industrial estate, received backing under the Loans for District Heating scheme.

The proposed boiler for Brae will heat the village’s leisure centre, swimming pool and health centre, while the Lerwick scheme is for the company’s own operational base plus one further industrial customer.

The government said there was good potential to further expand the two district heating networks. The company hopes to receive planning permission for both ventures later in October.

Energy minister Fergus Ewing said: “This government is committed to supporting the development of low carbon district heating networks in Scotland, helping homes and businesses stay warm with minimum impact to the environment, creating jobs while bringing heating bills down.

“The high start-up costs involved can mean schemes fail to get off the ground because commercial finance isn’t available. By offering these loans, we are helping communities to help themselves, developing affordable, green and locally produced heat.”

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