A project led by greenspace scotland working with Falkirk Council and North Lanarkshire Council to explore ParkPower opportunities at five greenspace sites has now been completed.  Financed jointly by partner contributions matched with CARES funding from Local Energy Scotland, a full options appraisal and outline feasibility study was undertaken by specialist renewable energy consultants Locogen.

Four of the five sites were public parks and included Helix Park and Callendar Park around Falkirk and Strathclyde Country Park on the edge of Motherwell. Phase 1 identified 22 projects covering a range of timescales, complexities and innovation levels. Many of the opportunities identified were scalable and replicable ranging from generating low carbon heat from ground and water sources, solar PV to supply power and EV charging to support electric vehicles.  Four of the 22 opportunities were selected based on site specific potential and replicability for Phase 2 to explore their feasibility in more detail.

Key generic outcomes of the project included:

  • Greenspaces, particularly those in urban areas, can act as effective low carbon energy generators, flexible energy stores and effective energy infrastructure hosts
  • The sub-surface beneath greenspaces offers considerable potential for heat collection (from both ground and water sources) using heat pumps 
  • Surface water in lochs and rivers within greenspaces offers significant potential for heat generation using heat pumps
  • Ground and water sources above and below surfaces also offer the potential to store heat over short and longer periods.
  • The ‘soft dig’ nature of greenspaces means they are highly suited to acting as ‘energy transport corridors’ for transmitting heat through underground pipes
  • Some greenspaces, or parts of greenspaces, could be considered for re-purposing to include electricity generation using solar PV, and linked to roads and car parks to install EV charging infrastructure

Some of the technology solutions identified strong opportunities to deliver higher revenue with relatively short pay-back periods including:

  • ‘In transit’ Electric Vehicle (EV) charging where greenspace with associated grey space is located near high traffic road junctions; and
  • Low-carbon heat supply to nearby high energy demand buildings (such as residential flats or leisure centres) particularly where this can replace existing high cost heat supply systems.

The report reinforces the findings of previous ParkPower outputs that our urban greenspaces should be seen as valuable assets capable of hosting low carbon energy solutions.  This value is only set to multiply as we shift away from our current reliance on existing high carbon sources. As local energy masterplans and strategies are developed, greenspace should be considered a key component in terms of its potential for energy generation and as host for new low carbon energy infrastructure.

If you would like to read the report contact ParkPower