Scottish firms opt for power independence

BUSINESSES in Scotland have invested almost £50 million in their own onsite power stations in recent years in the face of rising energy prices and concerns over security of supply.

Bruichladdich Distillery on Islay has installed an anaerobic digestion plant. Photograph: Ian Rutherford

There are now 40 commercial-scale renewable energy projects including wind turbines, roof-mounted solar panels and anaerobic digestion plants in operation.

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Independent energy company SmartestEnergy said onsite generation projects are capable of generating more than £22m of electricity a year. The average figure invested in projects to date has been £1.2m.

Iain Robertson, Glasgow-based head of generation for SmartestEnergy, which purchases electricity from more than 100 independent renewable projects in Scotland, said firms were turning to onsite power because of rising energy prices, concerns over security of supply and the environment. “These projects can deliver significant savings in energy costs, ensure continuity of supplies and also provide a new income stream from energy generated over and above the needs of the business,” he said.

Scottish businesses which have invested in onsite renewable generation include the Bruichladdich Distillery on Islay which has installed an anaerobic digestion plant, and ice cream makers Mackie’s of Rothienorman, Aberdeenshire, which uses wind turbines and solar panels.