Funding in place for St Andrews University’s green energy plant

Funding is now in place to transform the former paper mill at Guardbridge into a green energy centre.
Funding is now in place to transform the former paper mill at Guardbridge into a green energy centre.
  • £11m injection of European funding enables project to go ahead
  • Green energy centre will transform the 36-acre former Guardbridge paper mill site
  • Around 225 jobs will be created during the construction

An £11 million loan has been agreed which will allow work to start on a £25m green energy centre on a 36-acre site in Guardbridge.

St Andrews University’s plans to develop the land at the former paper mill will create around 225 jobs during the construction phase, with opportunities for apprenticeships and local companies to bid for sub-contracts.

We believe the diverse range of potential uses for Guardbridge has the capacity to re-establish this huge site as a key economic centre in Fife

Derek Watson, the university’s chief operating officer

This latest injection of funding comes from the Scottish Partnership for Regeneration in Urban Centres (SPRUCE) Fund, a joint Scottish Government and European Regional Development Fund initiative, managed by Amber Infrastructure Limited.

The Scottish Funding Council has also backed the centre with a £10m grant with the remaining £4m coming from the university itself.

Social Justice Secretary Alex Neil said the project would help regenerate north east Fife.

“The construction of the Guardbridge energy centre will act as a springboard for the regeneration of the village, which will provide an economic boost for the wider Fife economy,” he said.

“The centre’s projected carbon savings will help the environment and the local area will benefit from the university’s commitment to job creation and apprenticeships.

“The project also underlines the sector’s commitment to innovation and research, backed by significant investment from the Scottish Government.

“The government is using all the levers at its disposal, including European funding, to maximise employment opportunities that help achieve sustainable economic growth.”

When completed, hot water from the plant will be pumped underground to heat and cool laboratories and student residences in St Andrews. It will use only wood from sustainable local forests as biomass.

Derek Watson, the university’s chief operating officer, said: “Guardbridge represents a major strategic step for the university. This large industrial site lends itself to the creation of a range of renewable energies which are vital for our efforts to remain one of Europe’s leading research institutions.

“We believe the diverse range of potential uses for Guardbridge has the capacity to re-establish this huge site as a key economic centre in Fife.”

Fife Council leader David Ross described the university’s Guardbridge development as a major project, not just for the local community but potentially for the whole of Fife’s economy.

Councillor Ross said: “Following on from planning approval in November 2014, this additional investment for the energy centre is another significant milestone for the wider redevelopment of the Guardbridge site and is very much to be welcomed.”

Cameron Cook, head of origination for Amber Infrastructure in Scotland, added: “The Guardbridge project is a ground breaking initiative that will deliver significant economic activity within the area and substantial environmental benefits in the form of carbon dioxide savings.

“We’re delighted to participate in the project, realising SPRUCE’s ambitions to help social, economic and green infrastructure in Scotland.”