A new £25 million green energy centre at St Andrews University will put the institution at the “cutting-edge” of environmentally-friendly technology, according to a Scotland Office minister.
The project will create 225 jobs and it is hoped the site at Guardbridge will help regenerate part of north-east Fife, with apprenticeships and opportunities in the construction of the centre.
The scheme is part of a drive by St Andrews to become the UK’s first carbon-neutral university.
The biomass facility will use only virgin roundwood, locally sourced from forests, and hot water from the plant will be pumped underground to heat and cool laboratories and student residences in St Andrews.
It will also be used for university research and it is hoped the centre will bring further investment in renewable technologies to Fife.
Scotland Office minister Lord Dunlop, who was given a peerage by David Cameron in May, visited the site and praised the progress.
He said: “This project creates a virtuous circle. It provides jobs and apprenticeships, helping to re-generate north-east Fife.
“It will deliver the hot water needed for the university in a green and efficient way, and it puts one of Scotland’s oldest universities at the cutting-edge of new, sustainable and environmentally-friendly technology.”
The project has received a £10 million grant from the Scottish Funding Council, a £11 million loan from the Scottish Partnership for Regeneration in Urban Centres and the remaining £4 million made up by the university itself.
St Andrews University chief operating officer Derek Watson said: “Guardbridge represents a major strategic step for the university.
“We are committed to becoming carbon neutral for energy and this large industrial site lends itself to the creation of a range of renewable energies which are vital to our efforts to remain one of Europe’s leading research institutions.
“With the biomass at its heart, we believe the diverse range of potential uses at Guardbridge has the capacity to re-establish this huge site as a key economic centre in Fife.”