The latest proposed addition to Britain’s fleet of giant solar parks is being mooted for a site in the Lincolnshire Wolds.
At 320MWp, developer Windel Energy’s projected Fosse Green farm straddling the A46 six miles south west of Lincoln approaches in size developers Wirol’s and Hive’s 350 MWp £450 million venture at Cleve Hill, near Faversham. Construction began on the Kent mega-project this month.
Planning law dating from 2008 for England & Wales classifies all solar installations above 100 MWp among ‘nationally significant infrastructure’ projects. As such, they require a second round of planning sign-off from Whitehall’s Planning Inspectorate.
Proposals to improve approval processes for renewables mega-projects such as Fosse Green and Cleve Hill are currently out to public consultation. In February heads of four environment & energy ministries suggested reforms in approving new major national infrastructure. Ministers including D-ESNZ secretary Grant Shapps flagged the need for quicker, greener, fairer and higher quality decisions in the decade-old rules.
Last week Parliament’s all-party environmental audit committee reported to Shapps its concerns that delays, particularly in securing grid connections, imperil ministers’ ambitions to reach 70 GWp of solar capacity by 2035, five times Britain’s current deployment.
The Lincolnshire project’s backers says its planned generation exceeding 300 GWh every year can meet the needs of a hypothetical 110,000 homes.
Windel Energy CEO Gary Toomey said “the last few months have highlighted the growing need to find practical solutions for combatting climate change and reaching the UK’s net zero targets, while also tackling a cost-of-living crisis affecting everyday energy bill prices.
“As a result, stepping up the amount of home-grown clean energy being delivered to British homes is an increasing necessity”.
Preliminary work now under way includes specifying a grid connection corridor east of the site. The developer intends public consultations to begin over this summer.
Founded in 2018, privately held Windel Energy manages over 3.5GW of renewable generation and storage assets at various stages of development.
PV equipment maker Canadian Solar is partnering Windel in the Fosse Green venture. More details here.