Plans to extend a gas pipeline created to feed Speyside distilleries to domestic and business users in Speyside could take a further step forward today.
Moray politicians Richard Lochhead MSP and Angus Robertson MP say that they will meet with OFGEM executives to discuss regulatory issues surrounding their proposals to extend the 16-mile pipeline that currently links four Moray distilleries.
The £7.6million project connecting Glenlivet, Tormore, Tomintoul and Cragganmore distilleries with mains gas was completed in June.
Both Moray political leaders have already instigated talks with distillery owners and Highlands and Islands Enterprise over extending the system to domestic users – but further work to enable connections to the wider community needs to have the support of the energy regulator.
Mr Lochhead said: “With a major gas pipeline now going into the heart of rural Speyside we need to push every angle to get it opened up for connections to the wider community.
“I will be making that point to OFGEM’s officials and I hope we can get a positive way forward.
“The work done by the whisky sector has opened up a real opportunity here and we want OFGEM to get firmly on board with that opportunity.”
His Westminster colleague Angus Robertson added: “The economic test that OFGEM applies for developing new gas connectivity is weighted in favour of more densely populated urban areas – but with this new pipeline reaching right into Speyside I will be asking OFGEM what they will do to maximise the benefits from the gas infrastructure for our rural communities.
“Energy policies must be inclusive and support people in rural communities as well as urban areas.
“Rural fuel poverty may be more hidden but it is there and we need investment in rural energy networks, including mains gas, to ensure our communities can grow and be sustainable in terms of energy costs.”