Nesta have announced today [14 September 2018] that greenspace scotland’s ParkPower project will be one of five UK Rethinking Parks Prototyping projects.

ParkPower is an innovative project to develop a digital platform to identify the most economically viable energy generation schemes in order to raise extra income to help resource park and greenspace management.

Julie Procter, Chief Executive of greenspace scotland said: 
“With parks and greenspace budgets under-pressure, we’ve been working with colleagues in Councils and Friends groups to develop and pioneer new approaches to generate income from and for our parks in ways which do not impact adversely on the public’s use and enjoyment of parks. ParkPower will enable us to take a strategic approach to identify parks with the most potential to generate energy, as well as opportunities to supply energy beyond the park to schools, hospitals, shopping centres and other consumers. We’re delighted to receive support from the Rethinking Parks programme to develop ParkPower.” 

Generating energy from parks provides clean, green local energy; connects consumers with their park (and energy supply); and produces an income stream which can be reinvested in our greenspaces. The ParkPower project supported by Rethinking Parks will develop a strategic GIS based approach to identify and monetise the best energy generation and storage options for parks. 

ParkPower is a strategic approach matching demand and potential supply of renewable energy. By identifying sites which have most potential we can ensure detailed on-site feasibility and technical studies are only undertaken for sites with prime potential, cutting down on wasted time and inefficient use of resources. Sites will be identified by overlapping data sets such as Scotland HEAT map and the new OS Greenspace map to identify parks near areas with a high energy demand. Further information on sites such as any historic or environmental constraints, topography and local knowledge on proposed developments and planned groundworks will all be included as potential sites are narrowed down to those with the highest potential. Potential types of energy generation/storage include ground source heat, solar PV and micro-hydro. 

Julie Procter said:
“ParkPower is underpinned by a ‘circular energy economy’ – heat and energy is produced locally and used locally, with money invested back into the local park and community. 

ParkPower projects are not only designed to make parks more financially self sustaining but also have the potential to reduce our carbon footprint, tackle fuel poverty, buffer Scotland against rising fossil fuel prices and provide educational opportunities. ParkPower could also form a delivery strand within Councils’ Local Heat and Energy Efficiency Strategies, contribute to Local Energy Masterplans and ultimately help meet targets in sustainability and climate change action plans.” 

In the first phase of developing ParkPower, greenspace scotland will be working with partners in Falkirk and Fife, with the intention to extend the programme Scotland-wide following the pilot stage. 

Read the Nesta Rethinking Parks announcement

More about our work on greenspace and energy here