A former shipbuilding hub on the Clyde is set to be one of Scotland’s greenest towns if new proposals to create a pioneering district heating network go ahead.
The environmentally friendly scheme will use water pumped from the river to warm new homes, businesses and public buildings being constructed as part of the £250 million Queen’s Quay regeneration project in Clydebank, on the site of the renowned John Brown’s shipyard.
The new district heat network will be the largest and most ambitious ever created in Scotland and will enable thermal energy, often wasted in power generation and industrial processes, to be captured and supplied directly to householders and workplaces.
The carbon-free system uses water source heat pump technology and is designed to allow future expansion.
This means the nearby Golden Jubilee Hospital as well as the wider Clydebank area could be added later.
“This is the first time a system like this will be installed in Scotland, and we are very excited about the prospect of getting started on site to bring this vision to fruition,” said Paul O’Donnell, from developer Dawn Urban Regeneration.
“The system harnesses the River Clyde’s latent energy, which will distribute heat to existing and new communities in the area.
“It is a major development for Queen’s Quay and one that will benefit the residents and businesses of Clydebank and beyond for generations to come.”
He says the new development will be the “first of many at Queen’s Quay” to bring new life to Clydebank’s waterfront.
He added: “As well as being a fantastic start to the project, it also promises to create a legacy for the whole of Clydebank by tackling issues such as low-carbon energy from entirely renewable sources, energy security and fuel poverty.”
Duncan Graham, of Clydeside Regeneration, which owns the 80-acre site, said: “The development offers an opportunity to open up an area of Clydebank which has been derelict for a number of years, whilst also creating much-needed housing and other amenities in a stunning location overlooking the Clyde.”
The town of Clydebank was founded in the 1870s to house an influx of workers to the shipyard, which built well-known ships such as the RMS Lusitania, Hood, Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth and QE2.
Later it became part of Upper Clyde Shipbuilders, scene of a famous “work-in” in the 1970s.
The yard and associated engineering works continued to operate under a succession of owners until it was closed in 2000.
The redevelopment includes 800 homes, a campus for the new Clydebank College, parkland, riverside cycle paths and tourist attractions such as the Titan Clydebank Crane.
A planning application for the new energy centre has now been submitted, with work due to begin early next year.
The Queen’s Quay masterplan was approved in March 2016 by West Dunbartonshire Council, which is paying £6 million towards the project. The Scottish Government is providing a further £6 million of funding.