Plans to develop a new energy network to help power future expansion in the Prestwick Aerospace sector have been approved by South Ayrshire Council. Working in partnership with Scottish Enterprise and existing businesses, funding has been released to start drawing up proposals for a District Energy Network (DEN) to provide heat and electricity.
DEN is one of the projects outlined in the business case for the Ayrshire Growth Deal, with the £2.5million proposal central to the long-term success of promoting Prestwick Aerospace as a globally competitive business centre which has the potential to expand existing operations and to attract new investment.
The first stage to progress DEN involves drawing up an Investment Grade Business Case that will set out available options. Costing an estimated £204,000, South Ayrshire Council has agreed to commit £50,000 from existing budgets, with the remainder coming from Scottish Enterprise and existing businesses.
The preferred option being looked at is an integrated low carbon and heat recovery option tied into companies and processes at the Prestwick site. It's estimated the project could save businesses up to £2million per year in costs, alongside a forecast reduction of 11,225 tonnes of carbon dioxide.
Councillor Bill Grant, South Ayrshire Council's Portfolio Holder for Economic Development, Tourism and Leisure said the project was strategically important, "We're committed to supporting businesses to thrive and expand as well as exploring ways of achieving a sustainable low carbon future, something which this project would help to achieve.
"High energy costs for companies working in the aerospace sector have already been identified as a major issue at Prestwick and anything that can be done to reduce these overheads will give the site a competitive edge.
"Having access to lower energy costs would realise savings for existing businesses and would also provide an added incentive for new companies to consider setting up in South Ayrshire which would help to create fresh career opportunities.
"This approach highlights our ambition to introduce innovative projects that would help transform the future performance of the aerospace sector, and we are determined to secure the best possible outcome for the local communities and the wider economy."
The next stage involves a feasibility study being drawn up considering a range of factors, after which a preferred option will be chosen, leading to the more detailed design stage which will underline the projects final recommendations.
The full report 'Prestwick Aerospace Site – District Energy Network Project Study is available here.