Glasgow City looks at transport and solar for sustainability

solar farmGlasgow City Council is exploring opportunities to turn derelict and vacant sites around the city into mini solar farms. FutureCity / Glasgow, a £24m programme showing how technology can make life in the city smarter, safer and more sustainable, is conducting a mapping exercise in partnership with Strathclyde University.

Around 400 council-owned sites totalling almost 550 hectares are being assessed for technical and policy constraints. These include considerations like access to the National Grid, proximity to housing, whether parts of the site are shaded, whether the area is zoned for a specific use or there are any existing planning applications.

Brownfield gap sites including the former Meat Market in the city’s East End will be assessed for power generation suitability.

Although the old market hall structure is listed and arrays cannot be mounted on it, surrounding land on the 5.2hectare site bounded by Bellgrove Street and Duke Street will be evaluated on a 10m by 10m grid basis to pinpoint precisely which areas could produce the most electricity. The survey will be carried out remotely using (GIS) mapping technology.

Some of the sites may have been earmarked to be sold off by the council,l but the economic downturn has stalled sales and development. Other sites would require expensive remediation to be built on but could be suitable for the installation of ground mounted photo voltaic panels.

The results of the solar survey will be made freely available at Open Glasgow so communities or businesses considering setting up a solar farm can assess whether any of the sites would suit their requirements. The council may also utilise some sites.

The project is part of Glasgow City Council’s wider ambitions to become one of the most sustainable cities in Europe within the next 20 years, cutting carbon emissions which contribute to climate change, nurturing the creation of renewable energy projects and jobs, setting up its own energy services company and increasing access to affordable energy for city residents.

Professor Joe Clarke, who leads Strathclyde University’s input into the mapping exercise said:

“We applaud the council’s foresight in providing open information on urban renewable energy potentials across the city as a means to foster a partnership approach to the development of low carbon energy supply solutions at the community scale. Such an approach is an important ingredient of the FutureCity concept, which Glasgow is in the process of demonstrating.”

Glasgow City Council also launched a City Centre Strategy in November 2013. a key objective included the development of a City Centre Transport Strategy.

Developed in conjunction with stakeholders, a draft version has now been produced. The Council is now looking to gather views and opinions which will be used to help finalise the Strategy. The Council says its city centre transport strategy will be key to a sustainable transport system and to delivering health benefits and less pollution in the heart of the city.

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