A Highland farmer is on a mission to create Scotland’s first 100% carbon neutral whisky distillery.
John McKenzie, who farms in Dingwall and owns the GlenWyvis Distillery, has launched a crowd-funding project to help raise capital for a new on-site distillery.
The distillery will be located on the farm which has a hydro scheme, a wind turbine, solar panels and a biomass boiler.
Mr McKenzie, who is also a pilot known as ‘the Flying Farmer’, recently expanded his renewable energy interests on the farm to ensure electricity was being produced all year round.
The farm’s existing solar PV installation was expanded with the help of a £25,000 loan from Resource Efficient Scotland.
“The cost saving of the additional solar panel is £3,300 per year with a 10-year payback. However the saving is just part of the story as it is our aim is to become 100% green, this has so far proved to be quite challenging,” said Mr McKenzie who is an ex-Army Air Corps and Canadian Air Force pilot.
“We are at around 95% at present and are currently looking at a feasibility study to install a battery to store our excess energy when we don’t need it, that way we can use it when we do. As a green energy and active farm site that operates 365 days, the SME loan fund to purchase another solar PV has added further savings to the business and is another important measure to help us reach our 100% green goal.”
The Resource Efficient Scotland loan scheme for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) is funded by government. It offers loans of between £1,000 and £100,000 to help businesses reduce their carbon emissions, save money and increase their competitiveness.
Head of Resource Efficient Scotland – Marissa Lippiatt – said: “Using energy, water and raw materials more efficiently could benefit the Scottish economy by £2.9billion. Often SMEs find that a lack of time, money or access to the right skills prevents them from making these changes and accessing their share of the savings.
“I’m therefore delighted for John and what he’s been able to achieve, I wish him all the very best in creating the first carbon neutral distillery in the county.”