Hundreds of homes, businesses and a school in Perth will soon be heated by an innovative project which harnesses the power of the river Tay.
Councillors unanimously backed the business case for the £8 million plan which will use water heat pumps to capture renewable energy from the river – without damaging wildlife – and create a district heating network which will supply cheap heat to buildings in North Muirton, adjacent to the Tay.
“We in Perth and Kinross have an opportunity with this scheme to lead the field,” Councillor John Kellas told a full meeting of the council.
The scheme, in its first stage, would supply affordable heat to four business plots, 211 houses, North Muirton Primary School and the Colonsay Centre.
Commending the scheme, Councillor Ian Miller, leader of the administration, said: “Just as importantly, the infrastructure created at the start of the project will be designed to allow it to expand.
“This would ultimately connect to the entire Perth Food and Drink Park, supplying 1700 residential properties in North Muirton/Muirton and eight council buildings including North Muirton Primary School, Perth Grammar School and North Inch Community Campus.”
Mr Miller said that social housing tenants would benefit from reduced bills, slashing £200 per year from electric heating and £100 per year from gas heating for tenants.
It will reduce carbon emission by 450 tonnes a year and could attract businesses to the food and drink park by allowing them to access cheaper heat and electricity and boost their green credentials.
Councillors Ian Campbell and Mac Roberts expressed some misgivings about “unproven” technology and the projected savings on fuel which local households would enjoy.
Councillor John Kellas told them it was important to look at this as part of a longer term strategy.
The approval included an amendment proposed by Mr Campbell that the director of the environment service be asked to bring back a further report with more detailed financial modelling of the scheme