Tuesday, August 16, 2022

News: Plans in for new £60m Rotherham solar energy park


A planning application for an innovative new renewable energy generation and storage project on agricultural land has been submitted to Rotherham Council.

If approved, it would result in thousands of solar panels installed on green belt land.

Rothbiz reported in June that independent renewable energy firm Banks Renewables was developing plans for a new solar energy park on a 116-hectare site to the west of the Todwick Road Industrial Estate in Dinnington, around three miles east of Banks’ Penny Hill wind farm at Ulley.

The applicants admit that the development "will result in a limited number of adverse affects" but state that it will also generate a number of benefits.

The Common Farm Solar project would have an installed capacity of up to 50MW. This compares to the capacity of up to 20MW at Penny Hill Wind Farm and 44MW at the Templeborough Biomass power station.

Planning permission would be for a period of 40 years. The construction period is an estimated 6-9 months.

On 116 hectares of mainly arable fields, Banks' plan for Common Farm is to install rows of 4.5m high solar panels and a Battery Energy Storage System (BESS). Electricity generated will be taken by cables, wither overhead or underground, to the Thurcroft electricity sub-station around three kilometres to the north of the site forms part of the project, which will help support the long-term security of energy supplies to UK consumers.

Fences will be erected for security and to prevent glare and hedgerows around the site will be "gapped up" to provide landscape and visual mitigation. On top of mitigation measures, applicants are proposing biodiversity measures.

A detailed ecology and biodiversity strategy which will ensure the site delivers a net benefit in biodiversity to the local community also forms part of the scheme. Measures include bat and bird boxes and areas of scrubland.

The ground around and beneath the solar panels will be used to create a wildflower meadow and there will be increased planting of hedgerows, while part of the site will also be managed to encourage Lapwings to thrive.

In terms of economic benefits, the planning documents say that the development represents £61.2m of investment over the lifetime of the project which would "contribute to the diversity and security of the UK's energy supply by generating electricity from a sustainable, indigenious resource and providing energy storage facilities."

In a similar move to Penny Hill, Banks says that it would deliver an annual package of community benefits totalling £50,000, or more than £2m through its lifetime to support local community projects.

Adverse impacts include localised adverse landscape and visual affects.

With regard to the use of the greenbelt, documents state: "Such developments need to be built if we are going to achieve net zero ... there are no alternative suitable sites within Rotherham that are located out with [sic] the green belt" and add that the development "will not result in a significant encroachment into the countryside that will undermine the purpose of the green belt."

Lewis Stokes, senior community relations manager at The Banks Group, said: "Maximising the production of renewable energy from domestic sources is a crucial part of the UK’s ongoing journey towards its Net Zero targets, especially within the current energy security climate.

“The Common Farm solar scheme will extend the contribution that we’re able to make locally towards reaching these goals while also increasing the tangible benefits that we can deliver to local communities through the benefits package that will form a key part of the project.

“We’re excited at what can be achieved through this important project and hope that Rotherham Council’s planning committee will support our vision for delivering it.”

Banks Group website

Images: Banks / Wardell Armstrong


Supported by:
More news...

  © Blogger template Newspaper III by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP