Ground-breaking Renewables Research Centre plans unveiled for Cumnock
A new energy project is to be developed in the former mining town of Cumnock, once a powerhouse of coal production in Scotland.
Forming part of the £251.5 million Ayrshire Growth Deal, the project aims to revolutionise how renewable energy supplies are generated, stored and used by communities in the area.
The National Energy Research Demonstrator Project (NERD) will focus on Cumnock as a centre of academic research and innovation thanks to an investment of £17m from the UK Government backed up with £7.5m from East Ayrshire Council.
The Centre will bring together research and business knowledge to develop a whole new system of providing heat and energy to Cumnock and the surrounding communities, reducing household energy bills, reducing fuel poverty and increasing the efficiency of energy supply by using a network of renewable energy technologies (e.g. one such network could be using wind energy as electricity to power a house and a heat pump for heating while storing any excess energy in a battery for future use). This will reduce the carbon emissions of the town and surrounding area for the benefit of everyone.
The project will act as a catalyst for stimulating economic growth in the area by attracting highly-skilled jobs, encouraging local energy business start-ups and will offer science and technology education to schoolchildren and students throughout Ayrshire.
The NERD project will develop a centre of excellence for research, harnessing existing and new renewable energy technologies (such as hydrogen, geothermal, heat from waste) to provide solutions to produce and store energy and create a new, more flexible energy grid which operates independently of the national grid.
Councillor Jim Roberts, cabinet member for economy and infrastructure, said: “Cumnock is an ideal location for this exciting project. Its unique geography, the extent and scale of renewable energy developments in the vicinity and the past history of mineral extraction activity in the area. It will allow Cumnock and surrounding communities to become effectively self-sufficient with their energy supplies.
“The project has the potential to revitalise the local business and manufacturing base, but its importance will reach far beyond Cumnock. As a centre for excellence for energy research and technology, this will be a world-leading exemplar for other communities to follow. We’ll be working towards the future transition to a low carbon energy network while helping further the education and knowledge of the next generation of scientists and engineers, while making life easier and sustainable for people across the area.
“We’re very excited to be involved in such a ground-breaking and transformational project.”
East Ayrshire Council will be holding a public information event on Monday 12 August 2019 at the Cumnock Town Hall to hear views on the proposals being put forward for the NERD project.