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Issue 67 - Energy efficient

Whisky Magazine Issue 67
November 2007


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Energy efficient

Dave Broom concludes his two part investigation into the impact of climate change on whisky production by examining how the industry is meeting the challenge.

As last month's issue showed, the whisky industry will be directly affected by the consequences of climate change. Shifting weather patterns, drought, sea level rise, sea temperature change, coastal erosion, flood plain damage, increased incidence of flooding, all will have an impact on industry infrastructure as well as on the raw materials needed to produce the spirit. The science behind climate change is now accepted and becoming increasingly, depressingly, precise. What though, in practical terms, is being done to try and reduce the effects of this inevitable change and is it enough?

Whisky-making is energy-intensive.

Malting, kilning, mashing, distillation, effluent disposal, all require high amounts of energy. Transportation and packaging adds to the overall environmental impact. Like all United Kingdom industries, distillers are required to meet Government targets for reducing energy efficiency levels by 2010.

Campbell Evans is director of government and consumer affairs at the Scotch Whisky Association. “The climate change agreement has set specific targets for energy usage per litre of alcohol produced. These are currently being bettered and the level is now 13.5 per cent lower than it was in 1999, despite an upping of production. In addition, carbon emissions have also been reduced by 10 per cent. In going forward, the SWA, through its energy committee, is looking at the potential impacts of climate change. It is an ambitious timescale, but the important fact i...

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