A PIONEERING system taking water from the Clyde to create green heat energy has been officially opened as Scotland gears up to host the COP26 climate change conference.

West Dunbartonshire Energy Centre in Clydebank is home to the first large-scale heat pump of its kind in Scotland, transforming the way heat is provided to homes, businesses and public buildings.

At full build, the system will deliver circa 2000 tonnes of carbon reduction from the environment per year and is contributing to making the town one of the greenest areas in Scotland.

The £20million project is located within the Queens Quay development.

Councillor Iain McLaren, convener of infrastructure, regeneration and economic development, said: “This ambitious project has been many years in the making and it’s a pleasure to see the system up and running, providing low-carbon heat energy to so many buildings already, and with the capability of expansion throughout Clydebank.

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“As the world turns its eyes to the West of Scotland for COP26, and we work to agree action to try and halt the climate emergency, we are determined to do our part. This system, alongside a number of other steps taken by the council, will help us achieve our goal to be net-zero by 2045 and lead the way in tackling the climate emergency.”

The system will be showcased to delegates at COP26 in an exhibit at the event’s Green Zone in Glasgow Science Centre, highlighting work being undertaken to achieve net-zero targets.

In the initial phase of switch on, heat is being supplied to council offices at Aurora House, the Titan Enterprise Centre, Clydebank Leisure Centre and the new care home at Queens Quay.

Pipework is also in place to supply the forthcoming Clydebank Health Centre, West College Scotland, more than 140 flats and retail units currently on site, all other homes planned for the site as well as Clydebank Library and Clydebank Town Hall.

The low carbon system has been designed on a modular basis to enable future expansion beyond Queens Quay, with scope to heat the Golden Jubilee Hospital, Clyde Shopping Centre and into the town centre.

The introduction of the network will allow residents of more than 1,000 homes due to be built on the site to enjoy lower bills with a system that requires far less upkeep than a gas boiler.

Council-run energy company West Dunbartonshire Energy LLP has been established to oversee and strategically direct the day to day running of the network.