Scottish distilleries in good spirits with new energy efficiency fund

A Bacardi distillery in Scotland is set to reduce its carbon footprint by up to 90% with an energy efficiency project it is able to bring to life with new funding from the UK Green Investment Bank (GIB).

The Aberfeldy distillery in Perthshire will be dipping into a £5m pot of funding made available by the GIB for a pipeline of energy efficiency projects at a number of Scottish distilleries.

The funding will be used to finance the installation of biomass boilers; to replace the existing, inefficient, heavy oil boilers. This will reduce the distilleries’ energy costs and their greenhouse gas emissions, without requiring any up-front capital investment. Aberfeldy, for example, is able to replace 100% of the heat currently generated from fuel oil.

“Projects like this can help distilleries to save money and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions,” said the GIB’s group operations director Rob Cormie.

“I would encourage other distilleries to install a biomass boiler or other energy saving technology – an investment to make long term savings and to help to meet the industry’s ambitious green targets. Our ‘spend to save’ model means that companies don’t need to find the capital up-front and can start saving money from day one.” 

The investment is being made by the Equitix-managed fund, Energy Saving Investments, in which GIB is the cornerstone investor, alongside the Equitix Energy Efficiency Fund (EEEF). The investment is in partnership with Balcas Limited (Balcas), a British SME and leading UK manufacturer of wood pellet biomass. Matched funding will come from the private sector.

Welcome investment

Commenting on the new funding, WWF Scotland’s head of policy Dr Sam Gardner said: “It’s great to see Scotland’s iconic whisky industry teaming up with the nation’s growing renewables industry. This investment makes both business and climate sense for Aberfeldy distillery, helping to slash carbon emissions and reduce energy bills, whilst supporting local jobs.

“This is another welcome investment by the Green Investment Bank, and exactly the kind of project we need to see if Scottish industry is to reap the full benefits of the low carbon transition.”

Business Secretary, Vince Cable added: “The UK Green Investment bank, capitalised with £3.8 billion, has been set up to help businesses make the transition to a green economy right across the country.

“This investment in one of Scotland’s most important industries will help secure jobs, support the local supply chain and become more energy efficient.

“Through our industrial strategy we are working in partnership with business to give companies the confidence to invest, securing green jobs and a stronger UK economy.” 

Good Spirited

Bacardi’s global technical director Stuart Lowthian explained that this will bethe group’s second investment in biomass solutions for energy generation in the UK. “The first was in our Bombay Sapphire gin distillery at Laverstoke Mill and we will be following up with a similar biomass investment in our tequila distillery in Mexico later this year,” he said.

“These investments underline our “Good Spirited” global sustainability initiative to work with partners to build a sustainable future. We are hoping to make further investments in sustainable power in Scotland in the future.”

The spirits company released its 2012 corporate social responsibility (CSR) report last month; revealing that it had improved its water efficiency per unit of product by 11% in 2012 compared to 2011, due to increased production volumes and water efficiency measures. 

Luke Nicholls

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