About Nesta

Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society.

Harnessing renewable energy in parks

In this leaflet we discuss the experiences of greenspace scotland and Powering Parks, supported by the Rethinking Parks Programme to explore the potential of green energy production in public parks and greenspaces.

Moving towards decarbonising our energy system

The public health crisis of COVID-19 and its repercussions on the economy shed a light on a number of inequalities that exist in our society, now more visible than ever. Yet another crisis – the climate emergency – looms on the horizon. Choices in the short future must steer towards a recovery that drives vital new economic activity, but also strengthens the resilience of our communities to the impacts of climate change.

At the same time, the need to diversify and generate alternative income streams to support parks and greenspaces has become increasingly important. Across the country many parks and greenspaces are moving towards blended finance models, testing new mixes of income including public income, contributions from the private and voluntary sector, and ways to generate commercial income as well.

Renewable energy production in parks is an under-explored area that could help these spaces become more financially sustainable by creating new sources of income and reducing operating costs while contributing to a greener more sustainable economy. Using all of the assets available across our communities to help fight the climate crisis is also obviously important.

Supporting experimentation for green energy production in parks

The Rethinking Parks programme supported two projects, greenspace scotland and Powering Parks, to explore the potential of public parks to become a widely-used source of renewable energy, through better available data and an analysis of possible business models.

The leaflet outlines their findings, some of the challenges faced, their key takeaways, and provides compelling examples that aim to drive sustainable energy generation in public parks and greenspaces.

We hope that this information will help councils and others interested in testing green technology as a way to both fight the climate crisis and find alternative funding solutions for parks.


Camilla Bertoncin

Camilla Bertoncin

Camilla Bertoncin

Project Manager and Researcher

Camilla was a Project Manager and Researcher working in the Explorations team on the Centre for Collective Intelligence Design.

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