Delivering Net Zero along the Clyde River

Scotland has set ambitious targets to decarbonise our economy by 2045. This will involve all of our communities, and use of our intellectual and natural assets as part of the transition. One such asset is the river Clyde. Long a global centre for heavy industry and manufacturing, the Clyde can now be at the heart of the region’s transition to net zero.


Clyde Mission is a place-based, mission-focussed effort to make ‘the Clyde an engine of sustainable and inclusive growth for the city, the region and for Scotland’. It is a partnership led by the Scottish Government which involves local authorities, our enterprise and skills agencies, academia, business and communities.

We have set out five Missions which will contribute to our overarching aim. These are:

  • support the creation of new good and green jobs within the city region, and

  • develop a workforce with the skills to capitalise on these opportunities.

  • use vacant, derelict land for the benefit of the economy, the environment and communities.

  • adapt to climate risks, especially flooding.

  • accelerate Scotland’s progress to net zero.

  • create better places for people and communities.

Clyde Mission recently published an Energy Masterplan covering the area directly adjacent to the river from Clyde Gateway in the East, to Dunoon in the West: This was commissioned by Zero Waste Scotland for Clyde Mission, and produced by Buro Happold.

The Energy Masterplan is a strategic document that helps turn the Clyde Mission’s vision into reality, by providing a planning tool and evidence-base to support decision-making and attracting investment.

With a focus on low carbon heat and energy infrastructure it presents the outputs of an energy mapping and modelling study along the River Clyde from Greenock in the west to Clyde Gateway in the east. By assessing energy demand density it identifies significant existing and potentially new heat network opportunities and power demand loads. The study also assessed the scope for achieving large scale energy demand and emissions reductions by improving building energy efficiency.

Alongside this, we worked with over 100 local stakeholders (including local authorities, NGOs, local businesses, energy and other utility infrastructure operators, educational and training organisations) to better understand the range of projects already underway in the area.

A range of low carbon and energy infrastructure technologies including large scale water-source heat pumps, industrial waste heat recovery and opportunities to deploy solar PV at scale were then assessed for suitability in the area.

From this an energy project long-list incorporating stakeholder proposed projects as well as low carbon heat and energy resource opportunities has been produced. A shortlist was produced of 4 projects which will receive additional support from the Scottish Government. These are:

  • Scottish Events Campus. The SEC has proposed to reduce its current natural gas consumption for heat generation through the development of a water-source heat pump project which will meet a portion of the SEC’s heating and cooling demand. There is potential to include the adjacent Clydesdale Distillery and Glasgow Harbour in this project.

  • Fortum Energy-from-Waste (EfW) heat network. This project is owned by Fortum Oyj and Verus Energy, and is located on the South Clyde. The proposed project would process municipal, commercial, and industrial waste into electricity. This site would be in close proximity to potential large-scale heat consumers, such as the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.

  • Former Exxon Site Redevelopment (Bowling, West Dunbartonshire). A variety of low-carbon technologies have been proposed for this site, which is currently undergoing remediation works before transfer to West Dunbartonshire Council. The site has already attracted £34 million of Glasgow City Region Growth Deal investment for industrial and commercial development aimed at bringing in hundreds of jobs.

  • Kilcreggan/Rosneath Community Low-Carbon Heating. These are off-gas communities looking for low-carbon heating solutions. The primary beneficiaries will be social houses, as well as Kilcreggan primary school, and will focus on low-carbon energy solution at an individual property level.

With the publication of the Masterplan, we are able to press on with rolling out the £25m committed in the 2020-21 Programme for Government to the development of low carbon heat networks along the Clyde. Building on our analysis of the recently completed Call for Ideas, we are working to decarbonise heat along the Clyde in a way which works for the benefit of local communities. We are always open to ideas and suggestions for collaboration, and can be reached at

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