Glasgow could become the UK’s first net zero city

ScottishPower and Glasgow City Council have revealed a bold vision to transform Glasgow into the UK’s first ‘net zero’ city. 

With Scotland having set itself a target of net zero carbon emissions by 2045, the two organisations say they will start work on a range of programmes to ensure the country’s largest city reaches this target first. 

Glasgow has already established the first Low Emission Zone outside London, while the UK’s biggest onshore wind farm, Whitelee, which is owned by ScottishPower, is on the outskirts of the city. The focus will now turn to other parts of Glasgow’s economy that can be decarbonised, such as transport and heating, as well as continued investment in the electricity grid to support the increasingly low carbon city.

One of the key areas of focus over the next ten years will be electric vehicles. Over 70% of Glasgow’s residents live in flats with no personal off-street parking, says ScottishPower, and this creates challenges to install chargers that can easily and regularly be used by residents. The company is planning a charging system that overcomes this challenge, including workplace and public charging locations. Sites for these locations are already being assessed.

Beyond Glasgow, ScottishPower reiterated its call to speed-up the development of onshore wind across the country.

Speaking at the All Energy Conference held in Glasgow in May, ScottishPower Chief Executive, Keith Anderson, said: ‘It is our hope that this declaration kick starts a race to zero with other ambitious cities, like Edinburgh, because then we will all be winners. The prize is the future of our country and our planet.’

Meanwhile, the Scottish Government has approved ScottishPower plans for the UK’s largest onshore wind farm, Whitelee, to have its own purpose-built super battery on site, in what will be one of the biggest energy storage projects in the UK.

Charged with green renewable power from the site’s 215 turbines, the planned battery storage centre will support the National Grid in maintaining the resilience and stability of the electricity grid, even at times when the wind may not be blowing – a first for a wind farm in the UK at this scale. The battery storage site will be the size of half a football pitch and will comprise 50 MW of lithium-ion battery technology.

Its planned storage capacity makes it the largest windfarm battery in the UK, capable of achieving full charge in less than an hour, says ScottishPower. This means it will be on standby to provide services like reactive power and frequency response to National Grid. The battery will be fully discharged or used in bursts as and when required to keep the electricity network stable by balancing supply and demand. 

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