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Edinburgh claims the UK’s first fully eco-powered greenspace

Saughton Park in the Scottish capital city is using micro-hydro technology on the Water of Leith, generating electricity for all the park’s needs, including running two ground source heat pump systems.

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Saughton Park's natural assets are now helping decarbonise its energy demand
Saughton Park's natural assets are now helping decarbonise its energy demand

Saughton Park in Edinburgh has become the UK’s first fully eco-powered greenspace.

 

The system uses unique micro-hydro technology on the Water of Leith, generating electricity for all the park’s needs, including the running of two ground source heat pump systems. These provide heat for the park’s glasshouse, buildings and the café.

 

Micro-hydro

 

The ground-breaking project was awarded almost £500,000 from SP Energy Networks’ £20million Green Economy Fund to support the installation of the low carbon energy solution.

 

By combining a micro-hydro scheme to generate electricity and ground source heat pumps to generate heat, the park’s natural assets are now helping decarbonise its energy demand. Estimates suggest this new technology will prevent more than 90 tonnes of carbon dioxide being pumped into the atmosphere each year – the equivalent of fully charging 11.5 million smartphones.

 

This project will allow the local community to fully benefit from the new technology, with over £18,000 being saved each year in energy costs. These funds will be re-invested in the park to create new educational and social facilities for locals to enjoy.

 

In 2013, an £8m regeneration project to modernise the 48-acre park launched as part of the City of Edinburgh Council’s ambitious plans to make the capital a carbon-neutral city by 2030.


This project aligns with Scotland’s mission to become the UK’s first net zero emissions country by 2045 and the Scottish Government’s efforts to meet climate change targets. Funded projects will be critical to green recovery as the UK economy recovers from the impact of Covid-19.

“Decarbonisation is more important than ever as we continue to drive a green recovery from the economic impact of Covid-19”

“The completion of this incredible project makes it the UK’s first eco-powered greenspace, proving that modern technology can be introduced to historic public parks,” said councillor Donald Wilson, culture and communities convener, City of Edinburgh Council.

 

“These are both aspects I have been personally involved in and I’m passionate about. It has been a dream of mine for over a decade and to have it become reality in such an impressive way is just fantastic.”

He continued: “Working collaboratively with partners like SP Energy Networks on innovations like this has allowed Edinburgh to lead the way in sustainable energy. The scheme will harness natural energy from the nearby Water of Leith and use it to power the park’s conservatory, café, and buildings, providing cleaner air for our local community and contributing greatly to Edinburgh’s ambitious net zero carbon goals.”

 

Frank Mitchell, CEO at SP Energy Networks, said Scotland and the UK have ambitious plans to achieve net zero carbon emissions and investing in community projects like this makes big strides towards a cleaner future for all of us.

 

He added: “We created the Green Economy Fund to help communities build their own green economy and decarbonise infrastructure and Saughton Park is a great example of how that can be done. Decarbonisation is more important than ever as we continue to drive a green recovery from the economic impact of Covid-19 and I’m very proud Saughton Park can now play its part to help achieve that ambition.”

 

So far, 36 projects have been awarded funding from SP Energy Networks across Central and Southern Scotland.

 

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