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Assessing policy constraints and technical feasibility of energy developments in cities

McGhee, Raheal and Clarke, Joseph and Svehla, Katalin (2017) Assessing policy constraints and technical feasibility of energy developments in cities. In: Design to Thrive. PLEA, Edinburgh, pp. 1446-1453. ISBN 978-0-9928957-5-4

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    GOMap (Geospatial Opportunity Map) was developed to support informed decisions concerning the siting of renewable energy systems in cities. It examined installing freestanding solar photovoltaic (PV) farms in Glasgow’s Vacant and Derelict Land (VDL) and was implemented as an interactive Geographic Information System. In evaluating whether a site was suitable for renewable energy deployment, two sets of constraints were considered: technical factors which were imposed by the location on the achievable power level; policy factors which affected the likelihood of receiving planning permission. Two scoring methods were applied which generated different perceptions concerning the size of opportunity available, based on a 50x50 m grid across Glasgow. The stringent method applied the highest score for any individual layer as the combined score and resulted in 15.7 % of the VDL area as technically favourable and 7.8 % as politically possible; the recommended lenient method summed the individual factor scores and displayed 42.9 % as technically favourable and 46.8 % as politically possible. Focusing on the lenient method, it was found that 285 ha of suitable VDL could allow for 142,708 solar PV panels to be built, equating to an energy yield of 344.55 MWh/yr which could provide energy for ~70,000 dwellings.