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Plans submitted for Yorkshire project to help reach Net Zero

02 Feb, 2022

UK, February 2022: Statkraft has submitted a planning application (REF: 21/04505/STPLF) to East Riding of Yorkshire Council to create a state-of-the-art renewable energy development between the villages of Allerthorpe and Thornton.

The proposed development includes the Soay Solar Farm and a Greener Grid Park, two complimentary projects that can help the UK achieve carbon Net Zero by 2050, and progress Hull and East Yorkshire’s credentials as a leader in renewable energy production. The projects will connect to the national electricity network via an existing substation at Thornton.

The Soay Solar Farm utilises photovoltaic cells to generate up to 49.99MW of sustainable electricity – enough to power around 18,500 homes.

The Greener Grid Park is a highly innovative project that expands National Grid’s capacity to utilise more renewable electricity on the network. By installing this facility, more sustainable power can be delivered to UK homes and businesses, helping to decarbonise Great Britain’s energy supply network. The project will also save consumers money. National Grid ESO estimate that the five contracts for grid stability projects currently being installed across GB will save electricity consumers up to £128 million over the next six years.

Norwegian state-owned Statkraft is Europe’s largest producer of renewable energy, operating in the UK since 2006. The Soay Solar Farm and Greener Grid Park will represent a total investment by the company of around £125m if the project gets the go ahead from East Riding of Yorkshire Council and development approval.

Charlotte Healey, Project Director for the Solar Farm, said both projects will play an integral part in helping the UK hit its target of Net Zero by 2050 and National Grid’s target of being able to operate a carbon free grid by 2025.

She said: “We’re extremely excited about these two projects which will add to Hull and East Yorkshire’s already strong renewable energy credentials. We hope East Riding of Yorkshire Council agree and approve the development at the first opportunity.

“In the light of the climate emergency and the recent COP26 summit, it is absolutely vital that the UK achieves its target of zero carbon emissions by 2050. Projects like this are integral to that goal.

“The Soay Solar Farm will generate a large amount of sustainable electricity and the Greener Grid Park will optimise the uptake of that electricity to the national grid, meaning the two projects are entirely complimentary.”

Charlotte added the site had been selected for a number of reasons.

“This site benefits from high exposure to the sun, which is crucial for efficient energy production,” she said.

“It consists of moderate-quality farmland only suitable for lower yields of crops, has a low risk of flooding and is not located in a protected ecological or landscape area, so it is well suited to a development of this nature.

“The presence of the existing substation at Thornton also makes the site ideal for the Greener Grid Park. Connecting directly to the grid allows us to significantly minimise environmental disruption during the construction phase.”

Lucy Kent, Senior Project Manager for the Greener Grid Park added the development would create a number of benefits beyond the production of clean energy.

“The Soay Solar Farm and Greener Grid Park will deliver both economic benefits and environmental enhancements to the local area,” she said.

“As well as generating business rates of £134,000 each year, we have also established a fund for community projects in Allerthorpe and Thornton and we welcome ideas on how that might be used.

“There will also be opportunities for local businesses to tender for work in the construction phase of the development.

“As well as this, we estimate the proposal will enhance the biodiversity value of the site by over 10 times - planting native trees, hedgerows, and meadowland that will support vital pollinating insects and a vast array of birdlife.”

Construction work on the site could start in 2023, assuming planning consent is granted this year.

For more information about the Soay Solar Farm and Greener Grid Park, please go to www.statkraft.co.uk/soay