Green for go as Argyll and Bute receives ministerial visit

UK Government Minister for Scotland David Duguid, second from right, was joined on his visit to Scottish Seafarms' Barcaldine site by Bruno Berardelli, Head of Asset Services at AMP Clean Energy, Scottish Sea Farms Head of Sustainability Anne Anderson and Rory Conn, Scottish Sea Farms Head of Freshwater Farming.

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UK Government minister for Scotland David Duguid was impressed by Argyll and Bute’s green credentials during a one-day tour of the region last Thursday.

Together with senior figures from Scottish Renewables, Mr Duguid visited Cruachan Power Station, Scottish Sea Farms’ Barcaldine hatchery, Scottish Association for Marine Science, followed by a meeting with representatives of the Community Inshore Fisheries Alliance, Clyde Fishermen’s Association and Fishermen’s Trust Infrastructure Project.

The minister is keen to see the progress being made towards becoming a net zero nation while creating and protecting skilled jobs.

‘I think I have just seen the tip of the iceberg here today,’ he said.

‘There are new innovations coming along all the time and everyone is doing their bit and that is what it is going to take to make sure we get to net zero.’

Drax Group’s Ian Kinnaird, left, with UK Government Minister for Scotland, David Duguid at Cruachan Power Station.

Cruachan Power station was the first stop of the day for the minister who wanted to understand its role in unlocking Scotland’s renewable power potential.

As part of the visit, Drax Group’s Scottish Assets and Generation Engineering Director Ian Kinnaird also outlined the company’s work on plans to build a new second underground pumped hydro storage power station at the Cruachan complex.

He said: ‘Drax wants to go even further and unlock Scotland’s full renewable potential by expanding the pumped hydro storage plant in Argyll.

‘These innovative plants act like giant water batteries soaking up excess wind and solar power so our homes and businesses can use more green energy when we need it most.’

Mr Duguid expressed the need to embrace the kind of technology employed at Drax.

‘The next smart systems and flexibility plan, due for publication shortly, will outline steps to remove barriers to smart technologies,’ he added.

‘It’s all in line with the UK Government’s ambitious climate and decarbonisation commitments as we strive to cut our emissions by nearly 80 per cent by 2035.’

Just a few miles along the road Salmon grower Scottish Sea Farms and green energy partner AMP Clean Energy hosted a one-hour tour of the salmon grower’s new £58M Barcaldine Hatchery.

Amongst the green technologies in operation was the hatchery’s 600kw biomass energy system, thought to deliver the biggest CO2 savings of any renewable heat source.

Owned, installed and maintained by AMP Clean Energy, the system uses locally-sourced, sustainably-managed wood chip to provide the 17,500 sqm building with much of its heat and hot water, saving 683 tonnes of carbon a year compared with using oil.

That’s the equivalent of six million road miles per year.

Also on show was the facility’s recirculating aquaculture system (RAS).

Specially designed to give salmon farmers much greater control over the key growth factors of water quality, oxygen levels, temperature, speed of flow and light, RAS technology offers several environmental benefits too.

Mr Duguid said: ‘I’ve been so impressed at the green approach of this state-of-the-art facility.

‘The UK Government has ambitious climate commitments and it’s by embracing measures such as these and accelerating decarbonisation that industry will be future-proofed to protect and create jobs.’

Leading the tour was Scottish Sea Farms Head of Sustainability Anne Anderson, who said: ‘Like any food producer, we’re working hard to minimise any impact from our activities on the environment, not just via our new Barcaldine Hatchery but across the business: from our marine farms to our processing and packing facilities, through to essential support services such as IT and logistics.’