Cumnock could become a focus of academic knowledge and innovation with a multi-million renewables research centre.

Following £251.5 million from the Ayrshire Growth Deal, the town is set to lead the world with a ground-breaking energy project which will revolutionise how renewable energy supplies are generated, stored and used by communities in the area.

The National Energy Research Demonstrator Project (NERD) will focus on Cumnock following an investment of £17 million from the UK Government backed up with £7.5 million from East Ayrshire Council.

The centre will bring together research and business knowledge to develop a whole new system of providing heat and energy to Cumnock and the surrounding communities, reducing household energy bills, reducing fuel poverty and increasing the efficiency of energy supply by using a network of renewable energy technologies. It is expected that this will reduce the carbon emissions of the town and surrounding area for the benefit of everyone.

It is also planned that the project will attract highly skilled jobs, encourage local energy business start-ups and offer science and technology education to schoolchildren and students throughout Ayrshire.

Councillor Jim Roberts, Cabinet Member for Economy and Infrastructure, said: “Cumnock is an ideal location for this exciting project. Its unique geography, the extent and scale of renewable energy developments in the vicinity and the past history of mineral extraction activity in the area. It will allow Cumnock and surrounding communities to become effectively self-sufficient with their energy supplies.

“The project has the potential to revitalise the local business and manufacturing base, but its importance will reach far beyond Cumnock. As a centre for excellence for energy research and technology, this will be a world leading exemplar for other communities to follow. We’ll be working towards the future transition to a low carbon energy network while helping further the education and knowledge of the next generation of scientists and engineers, while making life easier and sustainable for people across the area.

“We’re very excited to be involved in such a ground breaking and transformational project.”

Residents can voice their views on the proposals at a public information event on Monday, August 12 at Cumnock Town Hall during two sessions – 3-4.30pm and 7-8.30pm.

These sessions will include presentations from East Ayrshire Council and researchers from the University of Strathclyde and there will be opportunities for questions to be asked and views discussed. To find out more information about the project or the event please contact