Reduction targets should push us towards carbon neutrality

Ice cream producer Mackie’s of Scotland along with Absolute Solar and Wind Limited have completed development on Scotland’s largest solar PV instillation. Made up of 7,000 solar PV panels and capable of generating 1.5million kWh of energy the development is expected to generate enough electricity to produce 4 million litres of ice cream per year whilst at the same time saving 850,000kgs of CO2 emissions.

Glasgow based Absolute Solar and Wind were chosen by Mackies’ as the company looked to become a carbon neutral business. The 1.8MW Solar Farm at the family run businesses in Aberdeenshire site is the second time the two businesses have worked together. Previously Absolute installed a T4 40kW Chip Biomass boiler and 2 x 199kW Biomass boilers in the Mackies’ production factory.

Andrew McGown, Director and Head of Solar at Absolute Solar and Wind said “We understand this project to be the largest solar farm installed and connected to the grid in Scotland, and it is a project we are incredibly excited to have been involved in. Solar makes great sense, enough sunlight falls on the earth’s surface every hour to meet world energy demand for an entire year. It’s great to see forward thinking companies like Mackie’s embracing this.”

“As with any new installation, we work directly with the client to understand their needs, their business location and their future ambitions. From this, we are able to make recommendations with regards to the best renewable solution available to them.

“After growing significantly over the years, this latest project for Absolute is testament to the core values the company is built on and our desire to be market leaders in the field of renewable energy. Similarly, Mackie’s has over 100 year’s history and it’s fantastic to be on their journey to become a more energy efficient and green business.”

Mac Mackie Managing Director of Mackie’s said “As a business we have always seen the value of renewable energy, from both an economic and an environmental perspective.

“We’re constantly challenging ourselves to be as green as possible, and working with Absolute we feel well placed to ensure that we will always get the best out of our renewable solutions.”

Andrew McGown from Absolute added: “Look no further than the business plan of both companies and you can understand why this partnership is a perfect match.

“Whereas Mackie’s of Scotland’s aim is to ‘become a Scottish global brand from the greenest company in Britain created by people having fun’, here at Absolute our mission is ‘to offer the very best of knowledge while earning the highest respect in the commercial world of Wind, Solar, Biomass and Destratification in Scotland and the North’.

“It is fantastic to have such a strong partnership and this is a relationship that will continue to flourish following this launch.”

This news comes at the right time as this week the Scottish Government confirmed solar PV projects below 5MW will continue to receive support following the UK Government’s decision to close several renewable energy subsidies.

The UK Government does not want projects such as these to be able to capitalise on the policy which guarantees the same level of support for the lifetime of the project known as grandfathering.

The Scottish Government has devolved powers over grandfathering policy and has confirmed it will retain support for solar PV projects in Scotland.

Fergus Ewing Energy Minister said “The UK Government’s decision to slash support for renewables is misplaced and actively discourages investment in clean energy.

“The industry needs clarity and certainty to allow the necessary decisions to be taken and I will do what I can to support the 3,000 solar jobs in Scotland that are under threat.

“So to maintain a consistency and certainty for a growing industry, I have decided to use the powers I have to retain the status quo until the closure of the Renewables Obligation in April 2016.”

John Forster, Chairman of Solar Trade Association Scotland (STA Scotland), commented “This shows that the Scottish Government is fully committed to solar providing as much as possible of its 100% renewables target for Scotland.

“Solar projects in Scotland now know what level of support they are going to get, and that they will get it for the full 20 years. It won’t be possible to cut support for Scottish projects down the line in, for example, year 15 of 20.

“We particularly appreciate how the Minister has moved as quickly as possible in making this decision, allowing solar businesses to plan ahead and focus their efforts on any Scottish projects in the pipeline.”

Later this year in Paris the governments of over 190 countries will meet to discuss a new global agreement on climate change. The conference which takes place from the 30th of November to the 11th of December is aimed at aimed at reducing global greenhouse gas emissions and avoiding the threat of dangerous climate change and in conjunction a local community in Perthshire Scotland held a Live Earth event which highlighted the initiatives taken locally to help reduce negative climate impact.

As part of the event in the villages of Birnam and Dunkfield, coordinated by 12-year-old Ruby Flatley the Live Earth ambassador for Birnam, a 100-metre long community bunting was created showing why people wanted climate action.

Organiser Jess Pepper said: “Hundreds of people from around our community made flags on the theme, #fortheloveof… showing why folk want climate action. The bunting is now 100 metres long and every piece tells a story. It will be hung in Birnam Arts.

“The community bunting will then go to on the road to Paris via the People’s Climate Rally in Edinburgh next weekend and then on to Paris in December.

“This is the only Live Earth event I am aware of in Scotland and in the UK apparently.”

The event highlighted the initiatives carried out by the local community to reduce their climate impact, such as the community growing project called The Field and a community orchard.

Jess said: “We were also celebrating what people in their own homes and local businesses are doing to reduce their climate impact.

“It could be growing or supplying or serving local food, supporting and promoting active travel, or improving their energy efficiency and switching to clean energy sources.

“For example, people who travel around our area caring for older people are using electric cars and one of the hotels has switched to using a biomass boiler for their heating instead of using fossil fuels.

“It was a great atmosphere throughout the day and was a successful event.”

The challenge to make an energy thirsty business such as ice cream production carbon neutral is difficult at the best of times. The UK government’s recent policy changes have added to the difficulty however with new carbon emission reduction targets expected to be agreed at the upcoming conference in Paris more businesses must follow Mackie’s lead and take the necessary steps to becoming carbon neutral.

The UK is already behind on the current targets and the new targets are expected to be even tougher. Therefore it is everyone’s responsibility to reduce their carbon footprint but more emphasis will be on businesses and industries that use high quantities of energy. Positive moves by these types of businesses will have a greater effect on the country’s carbon output.

Initially costs may be high but the long term commercial benefits for the companies and environmental benefits for the country will be worth it.

 

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