Government Funding Propels Uk Distilleries Towards A Greener Future

The government has granted over eleven million pounds to help the UK’s world-famous distilleries scrap fossil fuels and develop low carbon heating systems.

Announced at the end of November, this ambitious plan will see hydrogen and biogas replacing fossil fuels in production processes, helping to end the impact distilleries have on climate change.

The distilleries sector has the potential to reduce carbon emissions by half a million tonnes every year; this equates to emissions from powering over 60,000 homes or removing around 100,000 cars off of the road. 

Supported through the Net Zero Innovation Portfolio, the winner’s announcement came in the wake of the UK hosting the COP26 UN Climate Change summit in early November. 

This multi-million-pound investment highlights the UK government’s ongoing commitment to developing new green technologies and innovations. It will play a pivotal role in helping to reduce the UK’s contribution to climate change over the next thirty years. 

The Scotch whisky industry supports 40,000 jobs across the UK, including over 10,000 individuals employed in Scotland. So, this funding will also create more high skilled job opportunities and enable distilleries to develop their storage technologies and fuel transportation. 

This government announced this investment alongside its ambitious green targets declared in the Energy White Paper and the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan. 

Energy Minister Greg Hands said:

“From London to Livingston, the UK is home to some of the world’s best-loved drinks and the Green Distilleries Competition is supporting producers in this iconic industry to go further and faster in cutting carbon emissions as we build back greener.

“We have been at the forefront of the push to tackle climate change at the COP26 summit in Glasgow and today’s announcement is a key part of that.

“UK industry continues to lead the world in its innovation and commitment to meeting the challenges of tackling climate change head on. That’s certainly something worth raising a toast to.”

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said:

“It’s fitting that this announcement comes just before St Andrew’s Day when Scotland’s most famous product will be celebrated around the globe.

“Scotland’s whisky industry has a proud heritage and is taking massive steps to embrace innovative technologies that will make production greener and cleaner. UK government investment like this will help secure the future of the sector and the highly-skilled jobs it supports.

Simon Clarke MP, Chief Secretary to the Treasury said:

“Thanks to the UK government’s £11 million investment distillers all over Britain are cutting their emissions.

“Together with this world class industry we are building a greener future while securing 40,000 high skilled jobs.

“Having just hosted COP, our commitment to meeting our net zero has never been so strong and it’s vital we continue to drive momentum.”

Scotch Whisky Association Chief Executive Karen Betts said:

“This funding is a welcome boost for the industry at a time when Scotch Whisky companies are already working hard to reduce their emissions. As a result, nearly 40% of the industry’s energy is now coming from renewable sources. But we know we need to go further and faster, and that’s where the Green Distilleries Competition is so critical since it supports companies in testing new technologies.

“The results of the work undertaken through the competition are then shared across the sector, which helps everyone to map further our path to Net Zero. This is exactly the sort of industry-government partnership that will help us to secure a sustainable future for Scotch Whisky and for the communities across Scotland within which we work.”

Phase 1 of Green Distilleries Competition funding will grant seventeen projects across the UK up to £75,000 each to boost development and research for decarbonisation projects. Phase 2 will help four of those original seventeen projects to progress schemes, including the use of biogas and low-carbon hydrogen instead of fossil fuels in their production lines. 

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