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Scotch underpins spirits energy drive

Recent investment in ecological practices within the Scotch whisky industry is seemingly paying dividends.

Distilleries across Scotland have helped the UK spirits sector beat government energy efficiency targets.

Latest results from the Department of Energy and Climate Change show that the 71 sites participating in the Spirits Energy Efficiency Company’s scheme improved their energy efficiency by 25% since 1999 – more than meeting the government target for the sector.

Of these 71 sites, 66 are Scotch whisky distilleries. Many major distillers have made pledges to improve their energy efficiency levels over the past couple of years, including Diageo.

Meeting the energy efficiency target allows companies to benefit from a 65% reduction in the Climate Change Levy – leading to a saving of around £2.6 million a year for the total UK spirits sector.

Julie Hesketh, the Scotch Whisky Association’s operational and technical affairs director, said: “This outstanding result has been achieved by investments in energy saving technologies across the board, including the construction of new distilleries and investments in efficiency measures at existing sites.

“We welcome the government’s commitment to extend the Climate Change Agreement (CCA) scheme for another 10 years from April 2013. We believe there is scope to improve the scheme to deliver further energy savings.”

Hesketh then challenged the government to improve and extend the scheme to include bottling plants.

“In our sector we have long called for our bottling operations to be eligible for inclusion in this effective climate change scheme,” she said.

“It’s odd, illogical and inequitable that the bottling of other drinks can qualify for a CCA, but not the bottling of spirits at large stand-alone sites. This must be addressed.

“The industry is committed to energy saving and this forms a key part of its ambitious Environmental Strategy which has a number of targets, for example deriving 80% of the Scotch whisky industry’s energy from non-fossil fuels by 2050.”

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