Companies have been awarded £9.4 million in order to reduce their carbon emissions under a Scottish Government scheme.
On Monday, Nicola Sturgeon visited the Graham’s Family Dairy plant in Bridge of Allan, near Stirling, one of the businesses which benefitted from the programme.
Its managing director said companies had faced a “terrifying summer” due to rising energy bills.
The Scottish Industrial Energy Transformation Fund has allowed Graham’s to install an energy efficiency system which retains heat from steam used in the pasteurisation and cleaning process.
The company says this has reduced its energy use by 30% at its headquarters near Stirling.
So far, 10 companies have received funding under the scheme and applications have now re-opened.
The Government says the projects awarded funding have the potential to reduce emissions by 40,482 tonnes of CO2 a year, the equivalent of the annual emissions from 17,000 households.
Ms Sturgeon said: “Reducing emissions in our manufacturing sector will be a crucial step in ensuring Scotland reaches its net-zero target by 2045.
“I am pleased that the Scottish Industrial Energy Transformation Fund continues to support companies across the sector to embrace decarbonisation, improve efficiency and reduce their impact on the environment.
“This week is Scotland’s Climate Week, which puts a renewed focus upon the ongoing climate emergency and our efforts to tackle it.
“And as households and businesses struggle with rising energy costs, it has never been more important to support industry to become more energy efficient.
“I welcome the work that the fund has already supported and I hope that many more businesses will apply in the future.”
Speaking to the PA news agency, managing director Robert Graham said the new system had reduced the plant’s carbon footprint.
He said: “It allows us to capture heat loss in the process to helps us reduce our heat needs by 30%.”
“That obviously has a big decarbonisation impact.”
Many businesses had expressed concerns about rising energy costs, he said, adding: “It’s been a terrifying summer.
“And speaking to a lot of businesses in Scotland, who will be looking at the October 1 cliff edge on energy, it’s been terrifying.”
During peak prices about four weeks ago, he said the company’s electricity bill was projected to reach about £1 million a month.
Following the Chancellor’s announcement of support for business energy bills last week, he expected it would be around £300,000 to £350,000.
He added: “It gives us time to accelerate, maybe, some additional solar PV for here and other things we can do to mitigate.”
Other projects which received money from the fund include a more efficient dryer at a seaweed production facility, while several breweries and distilleries also received money.
Up to £34 million of Scottish Government funding will be made available through the lifetime of the five-year fund which runs until 2026.
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