Scotland’s Government this week announced £4.4 million in funding for councils to use in improving energy efficiency in homes, businesses, public buildings, and community projects.
The £4.4 million in government funding is part of Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Programme (SEEP) phase 2, and will go to 15 Scottish councils “to deliver innovative ways to reduce emissions and tackle fuel poverty.” The announcement was made by Scottish Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy Paul Wheelhouse at Saughton Park in the country’s capital of Edinburgh, where he helped to install two large-scale ground source heat pumps in a first-of-its-kind project for Scotland that will help to provide renewable heat to both the Winter Garden and new building developments, making use of the potential provided by parks and other green spaces to provide renewable heat.
“The SEEP Pilot programme is testing new approaches to improving energy efficiency and new ways of working in the public sector,” said Mr Wheelhouse.
“A number of these projects will have a material impact on people’s lives, ensuring they have warm homes, businesses and community centres, while others will help develop essential strategies to support the effective deployment of investment to meet our ambitions to expand renewable heat and address fuel poverty.
“The Scottish Government funding announced today is helping to unlock a larger package totalling over £12 million covering a wide range of projects across Scotland, and these pilots will ultimately help inform deployment of the overarching SEEP programme that will see an estimated total of up to £10 billion invested in heat and energy efficiency in the period to 2030.”
This second phase of SEEP funding will begin next year and will work in lockstep with new powers for the Scottish Parliament over regulated energy suppliers. The Scottish Government hopes that the new SEEP funding will yield a multitude of benefits: not only is there the obvious desire to increase energy efficiency in homes and places of work across the country, but also tackling energy poverty issues. Energy poverty is defined by the Scottish Government as affecting any household that “in order to maintain a satisfactory heating regime, it would be required to spend more than 10% of its income on all household fuel use” — according to research done by the government. The government’s original intention to wipe out energy poverty by 2016 failed, but has nevertheless remained committed to the task, and by 2021 will have invested £1 billion in its efforts.
The new funding will also seek to create a sizeable market and supply chain for energy efficiency services and technologies in Scotland, as well as support 4,000 jobs annually.
The news of further funding for energy efficiency was unsurprisingly welcomed by local ministers and trade bodies.
“We welcome this funding announcement, which will enable a series of projects improving energy efficiency across the Capital,” said Adam McVey, City of Edinburgh Council Leader.
“As we work toward becoming a low-carbon city, we, along with partners, aim to reduce Edinburgh’s dependence on fossil fuels while supporting citizens and businesses to reduce their energy costs.
“Initiatives such as the installation of two Ground Source Heat Pump systems at Saughton Park demonstrate the breadth and innovation of projects helping to deliver sustainable energy across Edinburgh. The funding provided through phase two of Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Programme will provide crucial support to the Council in achieving the ambitious targets outlined in Edinburgh’s Sustainable Energy Action Plan.”
“Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Programme aims to both reduce the amount of heat which is lost from homes and businesses and to decarbonise the way that heat is supplied,” added Stephanie Clark, Policy Manager at Scottish Renewables. “Both those aims are important if we are to tackle climate change while helping the 31% of Scottish households in fuel poverty.
“This funding targets both those aims and will provide benefits to communities as well as valuable financial savings for the local authorities which are involved.”
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