THE UK Government will guarantee bonds totalling almost £50 million for a new green energy project that will help power more than 20,000 homes and one of Scotland's best-known distilleries.

The £74m Speyside Biomass Power project in Moray will provide the Macallan whisky distillery with green energy.

The Treasury has confirmed it will guarantee bonds worth up to £48.5m for the power station, making it the latest project to be supported by the UK Government Guarantees scheme, where Westminster acts as a loan guarantor to major infrastructure investments in the energy, transport, communications, waste and housing sectors.

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It is estimated the carbon savings from the new biomass plant will be the equivalent of taking more than 18,000 cars off the roads. The project will also create 123 jobs, with 100 people employed in the construction of the plant and 23 permanent jobs.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said: "The Speyside guarantee is fantastic news for ­Scotland's economic future. It will power thousands of homes with clean energy and also support the whisky industry, a cornerstone of our economy ... over £1 billion of infrastructure projects have now been brought forward as a result of the UK guarantees scheme."