Star Renewable Energy Wins Global Game Changer Award but Warns of Threat of Business Rates

This project is entirely viable because of the continued commitment of Scottish and UK Governments to a lower carbon society

With growing concerns about climate change and air pollution, the judges voted for the Scottish company’s technique which harvests heat from rivers using heat pumps. A technique first proposed in 1852 by Lord Kelvin but rarely adopted uses the refrigeration cycle to cool down river water and in doing so extract heat, which is delivered at up to 90°C to replace heat achieved by burning gas. The Scottish Government’s Low Carbon Infrastructure Technology Programme is supporting a proposed development in the Gorbals in Glasgow, which will see a system deployed to provide heat at the same or lower price than gas to a sports centre, business centre and housing but with less than half the carbon dioxide emissions and zero local NOx emissions. NOx are usually associated with vehicle exhausts but a recent Greater London Authority report suggested that nearly 40% is actually from burning gas – confirming that gas boilers contribute to the reported 40,000 UK pollution-related premature deaths per year.

The Glasgow based project will be the largest such system in the UK, and the largest since Star Renewable Energy (SRE) completed their flagship project in Drammen, Norway in 2010. The company has a proven track record of delivering low carbon heating solutions, and now has the Global Game Changers accolade, yet Star Renewable Energy highlights the necessity of policy frameworks to support, rather than hinder investment in heat pump technology.

Director of SRE, David Pearson commented, “This is a welcome award ahead of a busy period in respect of the Gorbals project. This project is entirely viable because of the continued commitment of Scottish and UK Governments to a lower carbon society. There is a huge amount of support in programmes such as LCITP and the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) as we try to reduce our fossil fuel consumption by over 80% in the next 20 years. However, we must implement proposed changes in planning, taxation, pre-accreditation and tariff guarantee for large water source heat pumps and balance these support mechanisms with compelling drivers that see existing businesses driven to play their part in change.”

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