The University of St Andrew’s £25 million power plant, funded by government bodies The Scottish Funding Council and the Scottish Partnership for Regeneration in Urban Centres (SPRUCE) Fund – a joint Scottish-European initiative – will be constructed on a derelict site three miles away in the village of Guardbridge.
‘We will install a biomass plant to produce hot water, which will then be pumped underground back to St Andrews to heat and cool our residences and labs,’ explains Niall Scott, Director of Communications at the university. ‘The biomass will burn only virgin roundwood, sourced sustainably from local forests.’
‘We have put ourselves forward to farmers and landowners as a long term customer,’ says Scott. ‘We have contracted to procure between 14,000 and 17,000 tonnes per annum. Our contract is with a local supplier who has access to a range of forestry sources. This is an embryonic market and we are working with the Forestry Commission to establish it on a more formal footing.’
In addition to Guardbridge, the university is also building a £20million wind farm at a former air base in Kenly. With the Guardbridge biomass plant scheduled for completion by spring 2016, and the Kenly wind farm a year later, the university aims to be carbon neutral by 2018.
This article was published in the June 2015 edition of Geographical Magazine