04 Sep 2021

BayWa r.e. Eyes 163MW Mega Solar Project

04 Sep 2021  by   

BayWa r.e. is planning the development of a 163MW solar project in South Derbyshire.

The 163MW site would be one of the largest in the UK, following on from the 350MW Cleve Hill Solar Farm which received development consent in 2020. Image: Andreas Gücklhorn (Unsplash).

The renewables developer is also looking to incorporate a 37.5MW battery energy storage on the site.

The project would be sited across two parcels of land on land west of the village of Rosliston, and east of Walton on Trent.

It will be connected to the national grid via an overhead cable to Drakelow Substation, which is located to the north of the site that lies on open, agricultural land.

The layout of both sites will be designed to protect public footpaths, with landscaping measures introduced such as improving the network of hedgerows to screen the site from external view.

BayWa r.e. is currently undertaking an Environmental Impact assessment for the site, with a scoping request already submitted to the Planning Inspectorate in relation to the project. This looks to ascertain the parameters of the environmental and technical assessments and surveys.

These preliminary surveys will help inform early technical work as the company develops the proposals for the scheme, said Ashley McInnes, project manager at Oaklands Solar Farm, the BayWa r.e. subsidiary and special purpose vehicle (SPV) established to house the development.

“Wherever possible, we’re looking at how we can best align this project with existing and emerging carbon reduction targets at a national level, as well as seeking opportunities to contribute to the climate agenda, community benefit and supply chain at a local level.”

Given the scale of the proposed development, Oaklands will submit its application to the Planning Inspectorate under the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) regime in late 2022.

The inspectorate will examine this and make a recommendation to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, who then makes the decision whether to grant or refuse development consent.

Over the course of the pre-application period across 2021 and early 2022 both informal and formal consultations will run, as BayWa r.e. looks to take a pro-active role in public engagement.

“As part of this commitment, we will be consulting extensively with local residents and relevant stakeholders as we bring forward our application,” added McInnes. “We look forward to confirming further details about this and methods for providing feedback over the course of the next few months.”

BayWa r.e. has developed 31 solar projects in the UK with a total cumulative capacity of approximately 536MW. In July it also acquired 99.8MW of subsidy-free colocated solar sites from UK developer JBM Solar, as it continued to expand its operations in the market.

Oaklands forms one of four mega solar projects registered with the Planning Inspectorate in the UK, along with the 120MW Little Crow Solar Farm put forward by Hampshire-based INRG Solar in 2018 and Longfield Solar Energy Farm in Essex registered in 2020.

The fourth is the only project to have so far been granted development consent by the energy secretary, receiving the go ahead in May 2020. Cleve Hill Solar Park – a 350MW site near Faversham, in Kent – is a joint venture between Hive Energy and Wirsol, which was originally submitted to the Planning Inspectorate in 2017.

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