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Scottish energy minister to launch Highlands bioenergy initiative

Scottish minister for energy, enterprise and tourism, Fergus Ewing, is to launch a new bioenergy initiative for the Highlands and Islands today (22 June).

Around 50 bioenergy experts will attend the inauguration of the Highlands and Islands Bioenergy Region Initiative, led by the University of the Highlands and Islands’ Energy Research Group, at the Culloden Battlefield Visitor Centre.

The initiative hopes to develop the sustainable use of bioenergy in the region and has attracted support from the likes of the Highland Council, Community Energy Scotland, AVC Group and Highlands Birchwood.

‘We have strong research and teaching interests in bioenergy, so this is an opportunity to use that expertise to support communities and businesses make best use of our local resources and help build a positive international reputation for the region in this sector,’ says the University’s principle and vice-chancellor James Fraser.

Ewing says he will take great pleasure in helping to launch the initiative as he believes sustainable bioenergy will help to meet Scottish government’s heat and transport  targets.

‘We are already seeing many other sectors, including whiskey and tourism, taking advantage of bioenergy benefits. By working together we can all make the most of our available bioenergy resources.’

Some of the actions the initiative hopes to achieve include: showcase best practice in the biomass heating sector, establish an applied research centre to promote innovation and address bioenergy needs and set up of cooperative wood fuel growing, harvesting, processing and supplying networks.