Installing renewables on vacant land could alleviate Glasgow fuel poverty

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Scotland’s largest city has plenty of vacant land on which renewable energy could ‘easily meet’ the heat demand, say researchers at the University of Strathclyde.

The published findings report a sufficient amount of brownfield land available on which heat pumps could be installed and a source of energy for those who most need it.

With Glasgow having an estimated 93,000 households living under fuel poverty, the report seeks to advocate the use of with 367 hectares of 50 licensed and unlicensed landfill sites, representing 9% of the city area.

Dr Richard Lord, senior lecturer in Civil and Environmental Engineering, said: “This study suggests there is potential to ease fuel poverty in Glasgow by making use of brownfield land to deploy renewable energy technologies such as ground source heat pumps.

“Brownfield land is a legacy of industrial retraction in many towns and cities worldwide, where land remains vacant long after it has gone into disuse, and is often a barrier to redevelopment.

“Using this land for renewable heating is one option that can support development of a low carbon economy and also stimulate regeneration.”

The report, published in the journal Renewable Energy, claims that if only 80% of the peak demand was to be met that would nearly half the number of households currently living in fuel poverty to 43,754.

Dr Lord added: “It is necessary for a balance to be drawn between installation costs, the technology footprint, and the number of properties whose heat demand could be met, to provide the most cost effective, sustainable solution that still allows for future redevelopment.

“It is clear that using brownfield land to provide ground source heating for social housing has the potential to contribute to alleviating fuel poverty as well as bringing significant opportunities for the restoration and reuse of vacant and derelict land.”