The funding, part of an overall project investment of £45m, will enable Simpsons Malt, a key sector supplier, to realise 25,000 tonnes of carbon savings each year - achieving an 80% reduction in Scope 1 emissions for the site in Berwick-upon-Tweed. Simpsons Malt is one of the largest producers of malt in the UK and the largest supplier to Scotland’s whisky sector.
The project is a pioneering solution that addresses two key energy transition challenges: how to decarbonise industrial heat and what to do when too much renewable energy is produced for the grid’s capacity.
The project will involve the installation of electric and biomass boilers to displace heat currently generated by fossil fuel gas and will save the equivalent of 11,000 homes worth of gas usage each year. Sustainable, locally sourced biomass fuel will provide the baseload decarbonisation and the electric boiler will kick-in when there is more wind energy being generated than the electricity system can use.
Alongside helping to meet UK net zero targets, the scheme offers a solution to the ‘energy constraint payment’ mechanism, which costs consumers millions of pounds each year. Under the current energy system, the National Grid can't store excess renewable energy at scale, so wind companies are forced to turn off their turbines when there is too much wind, triggering the payments.
The electrical boiler will be powered by wind turbines that would otherwise have been switched off, allowing for increased renewable electricity generation and reduced compensation payments.
The cutting-edge project, which reduces Scope 1 emissions for Simpsons, is key to decarbonising the whisky supply chain, helping the broader Scotch whisky sector meet net zero targets. It will deliver the equivalent of 275g of carbon saving per litre of whisky produced and because Simpsons provides up to 25% of the malted barley for the sector this project will have a massive impact on its overall CO2 footprint.
Edouard Picard, Energy and Infrastructure Finance at Investec, said:
“We are delighted to support AMP Clean Energy with this highly innovative project that will help to address two key challenges to the delivery of UK’s 2050 net zero targets: the decarbonisation of heat and the management of grid constraints as the share of intermittent renewables in the energy mix increases, both of which are at the core of AMP Clean Energy’s strategy.”
Mark Tarry, CEO at AMP Clean Energy, said:
“We are committed to tackling some of the major challenges holding back the energy transition including the decarbonisation of industrial heat. We are delighted that Investec have supported us in this, the largest individual project investment that AMP have made to date.
“This exciting project is so groundbreaking as it repositions local biomass fuel as a low-cost energy storage solution that can provide baseload decarbonisation and maximise the use of renewable wind energy that would otherwise be turned off, costing consumers money. This provides an impactful and smarter energy solution than the current approach of burning fossil fuel gas that could also be replicated across other industries.”