Plans for a £65million bioenergy plant at Scotland’s largest distillery were announced yesterday by drink giant Diageo.
The company – which makes leading global brands including Johnnie Walker, Tanqueray and Smirnoff – has signed a partnership agreement with energy-management company Dalkia to create the unit at Cameronbridge in Fife.
The development is expected to generate major environmental benefits and place Scotland at the forefront of green technology on the world stage.
It is believed to be the largest single investment in renewable technology by a non-utility company in the UK, and would reduce annual CO emissions at the site by about 56,000 tonnes (equivalent to taking 44,000 family cars off the road).
The proposed facility, subject to planning approval, will provide 98% of the thermal steam and 80% of electrical power used at the distillery.
Dalkia would construct the unit over the next two years and it will then transfer to Diageo under a finance lease arrangement, while continuing to be managed by Dalkia. The development will generate renewable energy from “spent wash” – a mixture of wheat, malted barley, yeast and water – produced during distillation.
Bryan Donaghey, managing director of Diageo Scotland, said: “This will be a showcase bioenergy facility which harnesses a variety of green technologies in a project of an unprecedented scale in our industry.
“It is without question the right way forward in terms of our environmental ambitions and secures the long-term sustainability of our operation at Cameronbridge, moving the site away from reliance on fossil fuels.”
Campbell Gemmell, chief executive of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, said: “Sepa welcomes the use by industry of efficient, sustainable-energy sources. We are very supportive of new and developing technologies that can help protect Scotland’s environment and make a meaningful contribution to tackling climate change. Diageo is to be commended for its investment in bioenergy.”
Frederic Pelege, chief executive of Dalkia, added: “This pioneering scheme demonstrates the effective use of bioenergy and highlights our shared commitment to efficient sustainable energy for industry. It will deliver real environmental benefits.”
Cameronbridge employs about 100 people and the new facility is expected to create up to 20 additional jobs.