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Understanding the green energy potential of greenspaces

Over the next 20-30 years Scotland’s energy landscape is likely to change dramatically as we seek to become less dependent on fossil fuel based energy sources and decarbonise our energy system. The implications of such a far reaching transformation are huge and our towns and cities are likely to face unprecedented modification. As part of the ParkPower project we are seeking to understand some of the impacts of these changes particularly in terms of the potential opportunities they might offer our greenspaces.

The intention is that ParkPower, or the potential of greenspace, will become a key component in a Council's Local Heat and Energy Efficiency Strategy, contribute to Local Energy Masterplans and ultimately help meet targets in sustainability and climate change action plans.

A strategic approach to analyse the assets of greenspaces

We are developing a data-driven model using a Geographic Information System (GIS) to undertake an opportunity mapping process to assess the ‘natural viability’ of sites across a local authority portfolio of greenspaces. This will utilise a range of data sources, including the Ordnance Survey Greenspace and Scotland's Heat Map and is based on matching long-term demand with the ability to supply green energy. The green energy technologies under consideration include heat pumps, hydro, solar PV, wind, district heating, solar thermal, battery storage and vehicle charging.

We are also looking at the potential for green energy projects on a park-specific scale. This will enable park managers and community groups to identify energy use scenarios commonly found in greenspaces. We will also suggest appropriate technologies that should be considered and propose suitable project development strategies and organisational/ financial structures to maximise the likelihood of a successful project.

Making greenspaces more financially sustainable

ParkPower is also exploring how green energy projects in public greenspaces can help deliver financial income and long-term savings. Green energy projects provide the opportunity to make parks more financially self-sustaining and additionally have the potential to reduce our carbon footprint, tackle fuel poverty, buffer Scotland against rising fossil fuel prices and provide educational opportunities. ParkPower is underpinned by a ‘circular energy economy’ concept based around further decentralisation of the current energy system – heat and energy is produced locally and used locally with income invested back into the local community and park management.

For a quick graphical understanding of what a typical park might look like after a 'ParkPower make-over' see our 'Before and After' presentation.  To understand the project in more detail read our Introduction to ParkPower.

ParkPower Before and After

Click on graphic above to view in more detail.

Find out more from the ParkPower section of our website

If you would like to know more about our ParkPower plans or would be are interesting in getting involved in the project please get in touch

ParkPower is supported as one of five Rethinking Parks Prototyping projects supported by National Lottery Community Fund, National Lottery Heritage Fund, and Nesta.