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Renewable and low carbon energy

Local authorities have a wide role, including that of leadership, in tackling climate change by reducing carbon and increasing renewable energy generation.

At a time of intense pressure on resources the expanding green economy presents an opportunity to set a positive agenda. The use of renewable and low carbon technologies can stimulate jobs, reduce reliance on fossil fuels with associated harmful carbon emissions, reduce energy bills, and create an income to the council through government initiatives such as the Renewable Heat Incentive and Feed-In-Tariffs.

Over the last few years, the council has invested in a number of renewable energy projects and we will continue to investigate the potential for and adopt renewable energy, where appropriate, including:

  • Solar photovoltaics (PV) and solar thermal
  • Biomass and district heating
  • Renewable energy and low carbon energy networks

The overall target for solar PV panels is 400kW of installed capacity on schools and operational buildings. The largest installations to date are those with 50kW capacity at Linlithgow Academy, Kirkton Service Centre and Beecraigs Country Park. The most recent installations took the total installed capacity on council buildings to 350kW.  In 2017/18, the council generated 242,170kWh of green electricity - enough to power around 65 houses for a year.

Our biomass heating systems are now complete, providing low carbon heating and hot water at 6 sites across West Lothian.

Find out more about the opportunities for renewable and low carbon technologies for West Lothian in the council's Icon for pdf Renewable Energy Strategy [1.4MB]

District heating

Roughly half the energy we use in Scotland is for heating (or cooling) homes, for our communities, offices and public buildings, and for Scottish manufacturing. Heat must therefore be at the centre of our move to low carbon economy. Scottish Government recently published the Renewable Heat Action Plan (RHAP) which targets 11% of the heat consumed in 2020 to come from renewable sources.

A Scotland heat map has been developed by the Scottish Government  with the assistance of council's and other public sector organisations. The completed map is a powerful tool to help assess who needs heat (demand) and where sources of heat might come from (supply), using a Geographic Information System (GIS). There is high potential in West Lothian for generating heat from low carbon and renewable sources, including waste heat from industrial processes.

District heating is the use of a centralised boiler installation to provide heat for a number of buildings. This can use a heat only boiler, or the heat from a combined heat and power (CHP) plant. 

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