Linlithgow Energy Corridor

Plenty of progress in a hectic couple of weeks, and perhaps the most satisfying is that we managed to beat a very tight deadline on Friday 10th October to submit a funding application for the Linlithgow Energy Corridor.

Local Energy Challenge

We managed to submit our bid on Friday with four hours to spare for initial – Phase One (feasibility) funding – of our proposal to Local Energy Scotland’s £20m Local Energy Challenge. 

This Challenge was only announced in mid August and has a very aggressive time-scale. We will apparently be told by early in November whether or not we have been successful in obtaining just under £30k Phase One funding which will be used to work up a detailed proposal for a Phase Two to be implemented in the next financial year – 1st April 2015 to 31th March 2016.

The interesting point about this funding is that the minimum is £1m and the maximum as much as £6m. We take the view that most applicants will find it difficult to engage with the necessary public and private stakeholders to implement projects on this scale to such a tight time-table.

Linlithgow Energy Corridor

We have been working closely on this bid with the first-rate Community Energy Scotland and with CES’s Benny Talbot as the engine-room, and Felix Wight on the bridge to help us pilot our way, we reached what we think is an excellent bid concept, christened the Linlithgow Energy Corridor.

The concept is to link together and supply the two centres of energy demand at Low Port and the Cross/Vennel which Aberdeen University’s Dr Mohammed Imbabi identified and prioritised in our initial energy mapping and scoping exercise last year. These network hubs will be connected to a water source heat pump by the Vennel which will draw upon heat from the Linlithgow Loch.  Low Port will probably be the site for gas-fired Combined Heat & Power with gas-fired district heating and possible hot water storage in the vicinity of the Vennel car park

We aim for this Linlithgow Energy Corridor to be the initial spine of what will become a Linlithgow Heat Network, and rather than digging up the High Street, our hot water piping and power cables will be run and buried in a corridor running along the South side of the Linlithgow Peel.

The key stakeholders are West Lothian Council, who would benefit from reduced energy costs at the Low Port School, Low Port Centre and the Burgh Halls; St Michael’s Church, with a  cluster of heat demand in particular, and Historic Scotland. While Historic Scotland will also receive economic benefits from lower energy costs, their principal focus is the so far intractable problem of improving the water quality in the Linlithgow Loch for which they have the responsibility, but lack either the power or the resources to solve the problems of toxic blooms and de-oxygenation of the Loch.

It is pleasing to report that we have the complete support of Historic Scotland for our project, since they anticipate that interventions to improve water quality may also be engineered as part of the project. Early indications from key West Lothian Council staff are also very positive, while all three of our politically disparate Linlithgow councillors are enthusiastically supportive.

So fingers crossed for the next three weeks or so……

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