EDF Energy has announced plans for a new solar farm that would provide enough power for 10,000 homes, with the farm set to be located just south of the Sutton Bridge gas-fired power station the company used to own.
The village of Sutton Bridge in Lincolnshire is home to fewer than 5,000 people, although it is the site of a gas-fired power plant that was built by Enron at a cost of £337 million in May 1999. EDF eventually took over the site in March 2000, although the company would eventually divest of it in 2008, with the site now run by General Electric.
Despite selling the site, EDF Energy wanted to construct a new gas-fired power plant just south of the existing one. However, the company has since had a change of heart and has decided to install a 49.9 MW solar farm at the site instead.
EDF Renewables, a division of EDF Energy, has been carrying out ecological and other feasibility surveys to assess whether the site will actually work as a solar plant. However, it’s confident that it will, so it’s launched a public consultation to see what local residents think of the idea.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the public consultation is being done a little differently. Rather than residents coming to a meeting in a village hall, residents are instead having to login online to a virtual consultation, where they can get all the necessary information about the proposed plans.
A solar farm fit for the future
The proposals for the new solar farm aren’t the most ambitious, especially considering solar farms such as Cleve Hill in Faversham are of a much larger scale. However, this will be a state-of-the-art solar farm, with EDF thinking about the installation of energy storage at the site, as well as EV rapid chargers.
The National Grid is set to change drastically over the next few decades, and companies need to be thinking about not just renewable energy but also storing that energy and distributing it in a smarter way. It seems EDF is applying that to this site.
EDF Group already plans on almost doubling its installed renewable energy capacity globally from 28 GW to 50 GW in the next 10 years, with the new solar farm at Sutton Bridge helping the company towards that goal.
Mark Vyvyan-Robinson, director of Solar and Onshore Wind Development at EDF Renewables, noted, “This is an excellent site for a solar farm, with high levels of irradiation and a nearby grid connection.
“EDF Renewables is an experienced renewables developer and Sutton Bridge is the first of several solar projects we have planned in the UK.
“Our renewables projects will enable us to contribute to the UK’s green economic recovery from COVID-19 and help the country reach its net zero targets.”
The consultation on the new solar farm will run until August 24, with EDF Renewables set to submit a formal planning application at the end of September.