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Community Renewable Energy Project


CoRE logo

The Community Renewable Energy (CoRE) Project is one of several projects funded by the Ayrshire Growth Deal.

Watch our video about CoRE

What is CoRE?

CoRE is funded through the Ayrshire Growth Deal with £17 million of funding from the UK Government and £7.5 million from East Ayrshire Council.

The project, which was previously referred to by its working title - National Energy Research Demonstrator (NERD) project -  aims to transform energy production, distribution and connections within the Cumnock area and be an exemplar to Scotland and the UK in making the transition to a low carbon society.

A key aspect of the project is to use the existing assets that East Ayrshire has in the area for generating energy, for example, using our former mining sites for extracting heat from rocks underground or from minewaters. East Ayrshire produces more wind energy than is needed in the area and the CoRE project will explore ways in which we can use this excess wind energy within our local communities at a lower price.

CoRE will:

  • develop the energy system of the future
  • create a nationally significant and distinctive Centre of Excellence for energy systems research and innovation
  • support the development and delivery of innovative, highly efficient energy generation, storage and distribution systems to create a flexible, locally distribution grid which will help communities to become  self-sufficient in energy
  • Cumnock will become an exemplar low carbon town and a route map for other locations in Scotland and UK to become self sufficient in energy supplies from local grids
  • attract new business and economic activity to the area to achieve inclusive growth for the region
  • enable Scotland to become a pioneer in renewable energy technology and contribute to Scotland becoming a net zero society by 2045 (or before)

Frequently asked questions

Read our frequently asked questions about CoRE.

Scope of CoRE

The project will deliver a Centre of Excellence in Energy Systems Research, two Demonstrator Houses (located on the site of the Centre of Excellence) and a programme of demonstrator projects over the project’s lifetime (10 years).

CoRE will work in phases to deliver:

  • SMART and low carbon transport system
  • SMART grid systems and technologies
  • STEM education programmes
  • reuse of former opencast coal sites for energy generation

The Centre of Excellence will include internal and external workshop/lab space for multi-disciplinary research accommodating PHD students and researchers who will test and trial new technologies and ideas for transitioning a town to low carbon. There will also be innovation space for businesses who will build relationships with the researchers in order to bring their products/technologies to market. There will be a large community engagement space which will allow for interaction between the local communities, Centre staff and the wider low carbon sector in Scotland.

Two Demonstrator Houses will be built on the site of the Centre of Excellence; one house will be for the public/local communities to see and try the new technologies that we being developed in the Centre within a domestic setting. This would showcase how these low carbon technologies would look, feel and operate within a home. The second house will be used for research purposes. 

In addition, a programme of demonstrator projects (a series of low carbon projects within the community) will be undertaken. These projects will look at solving the local issues to East Ayrshire with transitioning to low carbon. Examples of these include increasing the EV infrastructure, looking at how off-gas grid communities can be low carbon, retrofitting existing Council houses and tackling fuel poverty.

Community benefits

The community benefits of CoRE are as follows:

  • £24.5 million allocated to the CoRE project with opportunities to bring additional funding to the East Ayrshire area
  • East Ayrshire communities will be at the forefront of the low carbon transition in Scotland combined with efforts to reduce fuel poverty; they will be some of the first communities to use the technology developed in the Centre
  • Joint approach by academics, businesses and the Council to ensure a “just transition” utilising the new technologies and reducing their own carbon footprint
  • New business and industry will be attracted to the area, with new job opportunities created for local people
  • Business diversification promoted for low and zero carbon technologies
  • Community access to low carbon transport network - offering more opportunities for residents to travel in East Ayrshire
  • Opportunity to reuse vacant and derelict land for community renewable energy projects
  • Local communities can access the Centre of Excellence for advice on the low carbon transition, help with develop community energy projects and to identify match funding opportunities from professional staff
  • Communities will feed into and take part in the programme of demonstrator projects that will be delivered. All demonstrator projects will have a focus on the aspirations of local communities


  • 2019 - Energy modelling of the area and preparation of Strategic and Outline Business Cases
  • 2020 - Outline Business Case developed and appointment of Faithful and Gould to undertake initial design work on the Centre of Excellence begins
  • 2021 - Outline Business Case submitted, Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between East Ayrshire Council and University of Strathclyde
  • 2022 - Outline Business Case approved by UK and Scottish Government, planning permission secured for Centre of Excellence 
  • 2023 - Prioritisation and Programming of Demonstrator Projects, Programme Business Case submitted, Full Business Case submitted

Key partners

Our key partners in this project are:

  • UK Government
  • Scottish Government
  • East Ayrshire Council
  • University of Strathclyde
  • Scottish Power Energy Networks
  • Energy Technology Partnership
  • Scottish Enterprise
  • Scottish Towns Partnership
  • British Geological Survey
  • Scottish Futures Trust
  • British Geological Survey
  • Scottish Futures Trust


Useful links

The project will work in partnership with University of Strathclyde's Energy Systems Research Unit and the Energy Technology Partnership.

Contact Information


Planning and Economic Development
Opera House
8 John Finnie Street
Telephone: 01563 576790