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Climate / New Lerwick thermo storage project attracts government funding

A LOCAL renewable energy company has been awarded almost £900,000 of government funding for a Lerwick project that it is said could “revolutionise” the way energy can be stored. 

Angus Grains, a director of North Fish, said the £2 million pilot project would decarbonise a number of industrial energy users and has the potential to be replicated across the Highlands and Islands.

Key to the project is a second 900-Kilowatt wind turbine to be erected next to the existing one at North Hoofields on the northern outskirts of Lerwick, which will feed energy into a new thermo storage facility.

The energy will be stored at a much higher temperature than what water is capable of, enabling more energy to be stored.

Grains, however, remained tight-lipped as to the exact details of the new technology other than saying that it will be a “large expansion of the existing scheme”, adding it will help balance the grid by “making better use of what we have”.

But it is not only the local electricity grid that will benefit from the project: the stored energy could also be transferred into hot water to be used in the Lerwick district heating scheme or into steam for industrial processes.

Grains said he was hopeful that the project would be generating clean energy by spring 2023.

The funding of £887,253 is part of the Scottish Government’s low carbon infrastructure transition programme, which announced on Monday that eight projects across Scotland were sharing a total of £8.7 million.

Zero carbon buildings minister Patrick Harvie, of the Scottish Greens, said: “Meeting our ambitious climate targets will require rapid reduction in carbon emissions across our homes and buildings.

“I am pleased to announce funding for these eight impressive projects, each of which demonstrates how, working together, we can ensure our homes and buildings are climate-friendly and bring benefits to communities and local economies across the country.

“We are continuing to engage with other exciting projects regarding funding opportunities, and will soon announce plans for a successor to the LCITP which will provide significant investment in large-scale heat projects and heat networks.”

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