Community Renewable Energy Project

Ayrshire Growth Deal

Ayrshire Growth Deal is an ambitious multi-million pound investment package that aims to transform the Ayrshire economy. The UK and Scottish Governments will invest over £200 million with additional financial support from the three Ayrshire Councils. Among the proposed projects are an Aerospace and Innovation centre at Prestwick airport, an Ayrshire Manufacturing Investment Corridor at Bellfield, a subsea fibre optic cable in Irvine and the NERD project in Cumnock. The AGD should create around 7,000 jobs across Ayrshire over a 15 year period. The National Energy Research and Demonstrator (NERD) project is one of several projects funded by the  the Deal. 

What is NERD?

NERD 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 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 NERD project will explore ways in which we can use this excess wind energy within our local communities at a lower price.

NERD 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)

Scope of NERD

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).

NERD will work in phases to deliver:

  • SMART and low carbon transport system
  • SMART grid systems and technologies
  • STEM education programmes (working with East Ayrshire schools and Dumfries House)
  • SMART energy community schemes- including a local community energy company
  • 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 over the 10 year lifespan of the project. 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.

What are the community benefits?

  • £24.5 million allocated to the NERD 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. 

Timeline

  • 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 and Full Business Case submitted and final stages of design work to be completed, Operational Model agreed.
  • 2022 - building of the Centre of Excellence begins and early Demonstrator Projects begin
  • 2023 - completion of Centre of Excellence 
  • 2024 onwards - a range of demonstrator projects will be carried out, businesses will operate from the Centre of Excellence, with PHD students working from the lab space 

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.

View our NERD presentation (PDF 1.02MB)

Useful links

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

Read our press release about NERD

See our community presentation 

See the presentation made to the community event by University of Strathclyde

Contact Information

 

Planning and Economic Development
Opera House
8 John Finnie Street
Kilmarnock
KA1 1DD
Telephone: 01563 576790