Stroking amber for electricity: Derbyshire valley may be charged with its third solar farm


Solar energy developer Anesco is seeking planning permission for a 20MW farm in the Amber Valley, north of Derby.  If approved, the installation will be the third grid-scale PV generator seeking a construction green light in the Peak District community.

Reading-based Anesco commands a combined 525MWp capacity across its 105 solar farms already built. In January announced a deal with Gresham House, intended to finance its 200MWp pipeline of identified sites in the UK.

Its latest submission envisages a 19.66MWp development, covering 38 hectares of currently cultivated arable land, described as ‘low grade’.  Incorporating a substation and DNO control room, the installation is projected to generate for 40 years, before a possible return to agriculture.

Output would be equivalent to demand from 5,500 homes, saving 5,000 tonnes of CO2 each year.

If approved by Amber Valley Borough planners in July, Anesco says the plant could be generating late next year or early in 2023.

At nearby sites other than Anesco’s, some Amber Valley locals have been rubbed up the wrong way.

Developer Kronos’s application made in January to the same planning committee for 125 hectares of PV across two sites near Oakthorpe had attracted over 400 objections by last month, according to the Derby Telegraph.

Objectors include the constituency’s Conservative MP Nigel Mills and Cllr. Barry Lewis, leader of Derbyshire county council.  Residents cite Kronos’ alleged failure to conduct a wintering bird survey, and loss of footpath access. Amber Valley’s planning board have scheduled 30 September 2021 for a decision.

Planners for neighbouring Bolsover District are also considering a 25MWp application for Upper Delves Farm, near Shirland.


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