Bright sparks honoured in Scottish green energy awards

Wind farms featured in the awards ceremony. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Wind farms featured in the awards ceremony. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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Scotland’s biggest electricity user and a community wind farm on a remote island are among the winners of top green energy awards, announced at a ceremony held in Edinburgh.

Scottish Water’s innovative efforts to slash its £45 million power bill have seen the utility firm scoop the Renewing Scotland prize at the annual Scottish Green Energy Awards.

The UK’s largest community-­owned wind farm, the three-­turbine Beinn Ghrideag scheme on the Isle of Lewis, has been named Best Community Project.

Other awards handed out include the Best Supplier accolade, which was won jointly by two Orkney businesses that judges said have brought value to their entire community.

Edinburgh green energy developer Locogen’s “exemplary” expansion – which has seen quadruple its headcount in just two years – saw the firm walk off with the Business Growth Award.

This year’s awards, organised by industry body Scottish Renewables, come in a challenging year for the sector after the UK government announced a raft of cuts and closures to funding schemes for renewables projects.

John Cridland, former director­ general of the Confederation of British Industry, was named Champion of Renewables for his work highlighting the impact of the Tory cutbacks on renewable energy investment.

An eye-catching image of wind turbine blades poised for action at the Port of Inverness beat off stiff competition to bag the Best Photography Award for Eddie Boyd, principal engineer at Highland Council.

To deliver 1.34 billion litres of drinking water and treat 847 million litres of waste water every day, demands a vast amount of power.

In the last two years Scottish Water has doubled the amount of renewable energy generated at treatment works, meaning several now produce more than they consume.

The company has also installed the world’s first in-pipe hydro turbine – which controls water pressure while simultaneously generating electricity – in a main near Denny, and operates 14 wind and 18 solar schemes.

Accepting the award, Chris Toop, general manager for Scottish Water’s energy programme, said: “We are delighted to win this award, which recognises our efforts to maximise the use of our 2,000 treatment works and 60,000 miles of pipes to generate an increased amount of renewable energy.

“From hydro schemes to solar PV and food waste recycling, these initiatives are helping to reduce our carbon footprint and bring down the cost of providing vital water and waste water services to customers.”

Niall Stuart, chief executive of award organisers Scottish Renewables, said: “In the week world leaders meet in Paris to tackle climate change, there is much to celebrate here in Scotland.

“From small-scale community developments to our cutting-edge technologies and the individuals who champion our industry, the Scottish Green Energy Awards is all about recognising the people and organisations that are driving forward our industry.

“While the last few months have been incredibly challenging for the industry due to major changes in support from the UK government, there remains a huge amount of determination, innovation and creativity that we can and should all be proud of.” Matthieu Hue, chief executive officer of main sponsor EDF Energy Renewables, added: “What has been achieved by the renewable industry especially here in Scotland is incredible and I’m certain there is more to come.”

WINNERS

Best Community Project: Beinn Ghrideag wind farm, Isle of Lewis

Best Innovation: Accelerating Renewables Connections by SP Energy Networks, Community Energy Scotland, Smarter Grid Solutions and the University of Strathclyde (Scottish Borders)

Best Photography: Turbine blades at the Port of Inverness, by Eddie Boyd

Best Supplier: Green Marine (UK) Ltd and Leask Marine Ltd, both Orkney

Business Growth: Locogen

Champion of Renewables: John Cridland, former director ­general, Confederation of British Industry

Contribution to Skills: Energy Skills Partnership

Engineering Excellence: Atkins and Burntisland Fabrications Ltd

Export Award: SgurrEnergy (Glasgow)

Outstanding Contribution: Allan MacAskill

Renewing Scotland: Scottish Water

Rising Star: Irina Cortizo, Atkins

Sustainable Development: Guide to Hydropower Construction Best Practice, by Scottish Natural Heritage, Scottish Environment Protection Agency and Scottish Renewables

Judges Award: Highlands and Islands Enterprise