Stirling Council’s ground-breaking project to deliver low-carbon heat in partnership with Scottish Water has been welcomed by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
First Minister, Carol Beattie and Councillor Farmer

The First Minister today (Wednesday 7th August) toured the facility, at Forthside in Stirling, which is the first in the UK to use a mix of cutting-edge renewable technologies to harness energy from waste water

The project will bring cheap, low-carbon heat to Stirling through a district heating network, delivering a range of significant environmental and economic benefits.

The £6 million project is being delivered by Stirling Council in partnership with Scottish Water Horizons (SWH).

SWH will own and operate the energy centre, located at the existing Stirling Waste Water Treatment Works in Forthside. SWH will sell the heat to Stirling Council at an agreed rate and volume, which the Council will then sell on to users via the heating network.

Initially, the network will deliver low-carbon and energy cost savings heat to a number of key public buildings, including The Peak Leisure Centre, Forthbank Stadium, St Modan’s High School and organisations such as Zero Waste Scotland and Volunteer Scotland.

There is scope for the network to also be expanded across the city to include homes, helping tackle fuel poverty and providing savings for businesses.

Delivered by local building services company FES, the project will deliver many benefits including: 

  • Greater energy efficiency and savings for users
  • A reduction in carbon emissions
  • Regeneration and economic development for the local community
  • Local job creation and upskilling of workers
  • Additional income for the Council over the long-term
  • No impact on air quality.

Representatives from Stirling Council, Scottish Water and Scottish Water Horizons welcomed Ms. Sturgeon to the site and hosted a tour of the newly-built energy centre as it enters final preparations for the big switch-on by early September.

She said: Earlier this year Scotland became one of the first countries in the world to acknowledge the fact that we are facing a global climate emergency, and it is only right that we take appropriate action.

“I am proud of the bold, innovative and world-leading policies we are implementing to address the climate crisis we face.

“The Stirling District Heat Network project is a fantastic example of this, using waste water to help provide energy to local public buildings and businesses. It is a great demonstration of how we can work collaboratively to make a real difference.”

Convener of Stirling Council’s Environment and Housing Committee, Councillor Jim Thomson, said: “The ground-breaking technology being used at this energy centre has made Stirling the home of a new era in heating, which will help reduce environmental impact through fewer carbon emissions and recycling of waste resources.

“This partnership with Scottish Water Horizons shows Stirling’s commitment to continue to protect and improve the environment for both the area and Scotland as a whole.”

Vice Convenor, Councillor Danny Gibson, said: “As a council we have made major progress in sustainability, reducing our carbon footprint in a range of ways, and this pioneering project shows our determination to lead the way on this important issue.”

The Facility 

The new facility is projected to save 381 tonnes of carbon per annum – the equivalent of 1.5 million miles driven in an average petrol car or a passenger jet flying from Glasgow to Sydney about 82 times (source

It is also the first time in the UK that a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) unit will be used with heat from waste water pump system to deliver heat for a district network. 

The CHP unit will deliver electricity to power the wastewater treatment site and combine with technology designed to recover heat from Scottish Water’s wastewater network. This will provide low carbon heat to the district heat network in the form of hot water. Biogas boilers from the existing anaerobic digester (AD) on the site will also integrate with the energy centre, which in turn will provide any top-up heat requirement to the digester through the winter.

Scottish Water Chief Executive Officer, Douglas Millican, said: “Sustainability is vital for homes, businesses and services and using the energy from waste water is a great example of using resources to their maximum benefit. This new scheme in Stirling will go a long way towards helping reduce our carbon footprint and protecting the environment.”

Managing Director of Scottish Water Horizons, Paul Kerr, said: “We are very proud to have this project recognised by the First Minister for its contribution to reducing Scotland’s carbon footprint.

“Scottish Water Horizons is dedicated to supporting the Government in their ambitious carbon saving targets, utilising Scottish Water’s asset base to create a greener Scotland whilst reducing costs for our customers.”