Fife Council is to forge ahead with Glenrothes’ multi-million-pound district heating scheme.
There were fears the ambitious project could falter when the Scottish Government rejected a local authority bid for between £5.9 million and £7.2m of extra funding.
However, Fife Council’s policy and co-ordination committee has given the green light to a reduced scheme which will use heat from RWE’s Markinch biomass plant to provide low carbon heating to local buildings.
The new scaled down proposal will see 45 homes in a sheltered housing complex as part of the scheme instead of the original 290.
There will now only be 6.8km of pipeline, instead of the initial 16.8km.
Programme manager Ross Tulloch said there remains a huge amount of scope to expand the project in the future.
Fife Council co-leader, Labour councillor David Ross, said: “Today’s decision sees Fife once again leading the way in tackling climate change.
“Bringing a district heating scheme to Glenrothes will help us reach our goal of reducing carbon emissions by 42% by 2020.”
Co-Leader, SNP councillor David Alexander, added: “This is a major investment of nearly £24m for Glenrothes town centre.
“It will not only provide clean sustainable energy but will help to secure jobs and reduce fuel poverty in Glenrothes.”
Glenrothes Energy Network is a collaborative scheme involving Fife Council, RWE and the Scottish Government.
It will provide sustainable low carbon heat to a mix of industrial, commercial, community and domestic properties as well as the Fife House complex.
Markinch site manager Mark Picton said: “We are extremely pleased with the committee’s decision.
“We believe the Glenrothes Energy Network delivers low carbon heat efficiently and cost-effectively.
“The scheme has the ability to grow and develop over the next 40 years, enabling thousands of homes and businesses to access the available heat from the power plant.
“We believe that this project is important environmentally and it could continue the very important work that Scotland has already done on de-carbonising its economy.”
SNP councillor Fiona Grant, the Glenrothes area convener, added it was great news for the town.
“Millions will be invested in the heart of Glenrothes with the potential for significant further investment if the scheme is extended to include Warout and Auchmuty.”
The district heating network will be operational by the end of January 2019, with building and development of the network and Energy Centre beginning this spring.