Where’s there’s Muck there’s Brass
As Donald MacBrayne – of Scottish Water Horizons (the renewable energy arm of Scottish Water) showed Professor Colin Cunningham (Strathclyde University’s Zero Waste guru) and I around Linlithgow’s waste treatment plant by the River Avon at Linlithgow Bridge earlier this week, that Yorkshire phrase came irresistibly first to my olfactory senses (ie my nose) and then to my mind.
Donald is busy reducing Scottish Water’s energy costs by installing renewable energy wherever possible, and interestingly is now examining the possibility of extracting heat from the ‘grey’ water which passes under Linlithgow’s streets from our houses, where it begins its journey at around 17 degrees Celsius, and – once treated – is discharged at maybe 10 degrees Celsius into the River Avon. For Colin Cunningham and LNG, this also represents an opportunity to harvest heat from water using the same ‘water source’ heat pump technology we plan to use for the Linlithgow Loch.
The difference in this case is that the source of heat (and power) demand is not the Vennel flats, but is the Mill Road Industrial Estate, which also has acres of roofs over which we are casting covetous eyes as sites for solar PV energy generation.
Green Central Belt
While our Local Energy Challenge funding bid for the Linlithgow Energy Corridor project is under consideration, we have not been idle, and have been building the team, and I had a great meeting with Ankara Fuller, Robert MacGregor and Claire Frost of AECOM – the major engineering firm.
It was in fact AECOM’s imaginative North/South canal project ( WEIGHT-Water-and-power-superhighway-Rev-F (1) ) which I christened the Natural Grid a couple of years ago having become involved through a lifelong interest in canals. Living by a linear water feature such as this canal will (unlike an airport runway; motorway or high speed rail line next door) actually increase land values along the route and this gave rise to the idea that the increase in land rental value along the route could actually fund the resources necessary to create it.
So by applying this model to the Union Canal as an existing contour canal it should be possible to create genuinely sustainable and 100% affordable eco-development and regeneration of hundreds of acres of poisoned and semi-derelict landscape along the route of Union Canal as it winds its way from Falkirk to Fountainbridge in Edinburgh.
In this way it would be possible, instead of allowing developers to pave over perfectly good farmland in search of a land transaction profit, to apply a new and participative eco-development model to transform what became known as the Millennium Link to a Green Central Belt. We see Linlithgow as being central to such a Green Central Belt as the Union Canal transits West Lothian between the Avon and Almond Aqueducts.
But I digress from Muck and Brass.
A Linlithgow Energy Park?
AECOM are interested in bringing their expertise and professionalism to bear not only in the Linlithgow Energy Corridor project, but also to our plan to (literally) energise the Mill Road Industrial Estate. With a site next to the hydropower – and heat from water – potential of the River Avon this could become a Linlithgow Energy Park.