Find your frequently asked questions here
About The Developer
Statkraft is Europe’s largest generator of renewable energy, with origins going back 125 years in Norwegian hydro power. We have 4,800 employees across 19 countries. In the UK we operate and majority own a hydro power plant and four wind farms, are constructing two Greener Grid Parks and two wind farms.
Statkraft is at the heart of the UK’s energy transition. Since 2006, Statkraft has gone from strength to strength in the UK, building experience across wind, solar, hydro, storage, grid stability, EV charging, green hydrogen and a thriving markets business.
We’ve invested £1.4 billion in the UK's renewable energy infrastructure and facilitated over 4 GW of new-build renewable energy generation through Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs).
Across our UK businesses we employ over 280 staff in England, Scotland and Wales and play a key role in helping the global business achieve its goal of 8 GW of developed wind and solar power by 2025.
Solar energy farms are ground mounted solar installations that range in size from 50 kilowatts to thousands of kilowatts. The solar panels are mounted onto a framing system which is installed on the ground. The solar panels use photovoltaic (PV) technology to convert daylight into electricity. It’s the same technology that powers devices as small as your watch or calculator or as big as the International Space Station!
We plan to include batteries at site, which allows excess solar electricity to be stored on site and used when the grid needs more power, helping the National Grid better manage their network.
Solar panels produce energy from daylight rather than sunlight, so they continue to produce electricity even when the weather is overcast. With the addition of batteries on site, any electricity produced during the day can be stored and used at any time whenever it’s needed; day or night.
There is some noise generated on site during the construction stage but this is only for a short duration. Once built, there is low level noise from the cabins housing the associated equipment. From the edge of the site, any noise produced will be less than other background noise such as passing traffic, wind and other local sounds.
There can be some glint and glare from the panels, but we design and locate them so this is negligible, taking into account the location of properties and the local landscape. Studies show that reﬂection from vegetation and bare soil can be more signiﬁcant than from similar areas of solar.
There are a number of benefits to having a solar energy farm.
Where possible, we try to offer local jobs and supply contracts when we get to the construction, operation and maintenance phase of running our sites. Local suppliers can register their interest on this website.
The project will also contribute business rates to the local council and as part of our ongoing commitment to communities, we offer community grants to support local project and causes.
More broadly we are providing a renewable energy source for future generations, maintaining supply and adding to our energy security.
Once built, solar energy farms also provide great opportunities for micro-habitats. The variety of dry and wet and shaded and sunny areas, if properly planted and managed, can support a wide variety of wildlife.
There are a number of phases. We start with a site feasibility assessment which has already identified this site as a suitable place for a solar farm. We then move into a consultation and surveying phase where we gather information and opinions on the proposal. Among other things, we assess the environmental, visual and ecological impact of the site and consult with the local community, the council and relevant public authorities. This information finalises the design and associated reports that are submitted with a planning application. The Local Authority will then follow their processes to determine the application, which concludes with permission either being granted or declined.
If permission is granted, there is then a period of time, between from six to twenty-four months where the construction contracts are finalised before work on the site is ready to start.
Construction of a solar energy farm typically takes 12 to 18 months. In the ﬁrst six weeks most of the deliveries take place. After the parts have been delivered to site there are fewer vehicle movements as the site is built and then made operational.
Yes for the term of the lease but any land classed as agricultural that hosts a solar energy farm maintains its classification throughout the course of the lease. The agricultural land can be reverted back to arable use within a short space of time at the end of the lease period, as the scheme can be completely cleared away restoring the site to its former condition.
Our solar farms are normally designed to allow grazing of sheep around and underneath panels if the landowner wishes to do so.
Statkraft’s solar projects do not rely on any government subsidies. We secure revenue by trading its electricity either on the market or under contract to suppliers, and by securing contracts to provide electricity management services to the grid. The project may be eligible for government subsidies or contracts once consented.
The operational life of solar panels is approximately 35 years. After this time the site is decommissioned in line with the list of planning conditions attached to the decision notice. This work takes 6 to 12 months and is undertaken by the project owner.
The following mitigation measures will be adopted throughout construction in order to minimise impact on residential communities:
- Abnormal loads can travel to site at night so as to prevent impact to current traffic flow.
- All delivery drivers will be informed of the route to site for HGVs. Compliance with this route will be monitored by the Principal Contractor throughout construction;
- The Principal Contractor will install appropriate temporary directional signage on the route to site to reinforce use of the correct route; and
- A Construction Environmental Management Plan (CEMP) will be secured via planning condition, as requested by the Highways Authority.
Soay Solar Farm and Greener Grid Park
Statkraft’s Greener Grid Parks are designed to enable the electricity grid to be more flexible which in turn allows for more efficient utilisation of renewable energy sources.
Our grid network needs to keep up with the rapid progress towards the UK’s Net Zero targets and the significant increase in renewable energy which is now available in the UK.
Sometimes National Grid, as the Electricity System Operator (ESO), has been forced to pause wind and solar farms and run gas power stations to keep the system stable.
To keep the system stable the electricity frequency needs to be the same when entering and exiting the system. This stability was naturally built in to gas- and coal-fired power stations, but as we look to remove fossil fuels from our power supply and reach a Net Zero carbon footprint we need to replace this stability with projects like Greener Grid Parks.
The Greener Grid Parks mean that running gas powered stations will be progressively phased out and become a thing of the past.
Our Greener Grid Parks can be a combination of technologies: synchronous compensators (mechanical devices which use the force of inertia to store energy), battery energy storage system (BESS) and High Voltage equipment.
Thornton is in an area identified by NGESO with a “large growth in stability need”. This project will provide intertia to the grid which helps prevent instability, increases supply consistency and decreases future susceptibility to blackouts.
Thornton is a strong and inter-connected 400kV substation with 8 x 400kV circuits. Greener Grid Parks operate at their optimum when connected at a 400kV transmission level. At Thornton, the close proximity to the substation also avoids lengthy transmission cables and ensures efficient connection to the National Grid whilst minimising disturbance to the local environment and cost.
The project in this location will support changing demands on the grid, and increasing power flows due to increasing amounts of interconnectors and renewable energy generation. This projects ability to make renewables an even more viable option is helping to move the UK towards the government’s Net Zero target.
This development is at the forefront of innovation in the energy sector and will support renewable technologies, decarbonise the grid and save customers money. The Development will meet the UKs Climate targets for:
- 2050 Net Zero
- Fourth Carbon Budget
- Paris Agreement
- NGESO’s target for Zero Carbon Operation in 2025
- Support East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s climate strategy as a Climate Emergency has been declared.
In addition, the Greener Grid Park can provide:
- Stability to the electricity grid
- Cheaper electricity for customers
- A net biodiversity net gain of 114%.
A Battery Energy Storage System uses chemical batteries to store power for when it is needed. This lets us generate energy using solar panels during the day when demand is low and add it to the grid when it is needed later in the day.
Some of our battery sites can also be used by National Grid to help maintain the electrical grid in the event of unexpected sudden changes. You can find out more about these sites on our Greener Grid Park page.
A solar farm doesn’t need a battery system to operate, but as the demand for energy is usually lower on sunny days when generation capacity is highest, it makes sense for us to store excess energy for use later in the day. Across the country, investment in batteries and other energy storage means that we can reduce our reliance on fossil fuel power plants by allowing us to use renewable solar energy around the clock.
All generators and storage sites need to be connected to the energy grid, but possible connection sites are limited by the number of and locations of major substations. By building a battery storage site and a solar farm together, we can maximise the usefulness of our connection and provide energy to businesses and households whenever it is needed.
Project Overview And Timeline
We submitted a planning application for Soay Solar Farm and Greener Grid Park in December 2021, having completed a pre-application consultation between 20 March - 12 April 2021. This sought feedback from local residents before the design was finalised to and the planning application for the solar farm and Greener Grid Park project to East Riding of Yorkshire District Council.
We have continued to engage with the local community and key stakeholders on the plans, providing updates to them where necessary.
We have undertaken an assessment of solar irradiance, available grid connections and environmental sensitivities in the area which identified this site as highly suitable for solar development. The site is located in an area of low flood risk with no high value agricultural land or constraints in terms of heritage, landscape or ecology.
This site benefits from an available grid connection at the Thornton 400 kV substation on the western side of Melbourne Road. This means that electricity generated by the solar farm can be supplied to the grid efficiently without the need for lengthy underground / overhead transmission lines / cables.
Yes. While solar development was previously focused in the south of England, improvements in solar technology mean that an increasing amount of England is suitable, including Yorkshire.
The total area of the application site is approximately 145 hectares as viewed on the Project Layout Plan in the Documents folder. This includes areas for landscaping and biodiversity enhancements as well as the solar panels and Greener Grid Park infrastructure.
34 acres or 14ha.
The Greener Grid Park site will be fenced off using high security fencing at a minimum of 2.4m high. The colour of the fencing will be chosen to blend in with the natural landscape and adjacent substation.
The solar project is estimated to generate electricity equivalent to the consumption of approximately 18,500 homes. The Greener Grid Park allows the daytime peak of electricity generation from the Solar project to be stored onsite and released when the demand for electricity is highest.
The building colour will be selected for its ability to blend in with the existing substation building - which we would expect to be grey or moss green - but we will seek further input from the Council on this topic.
The Greener Grid Park site will be fenced off using high security fencing at a minimum of 2.4m high. We will ensure it blends in with the natural landscape and adjacent substation. The site will also be installed with CCTV.
The site has 24/7 remote monitoring of all the system and our control centre will be alerted if there is an emergency.
Safety management is a fundamental feature of our Greener Grid Parks. Everything is done to prevent, mitigate and protect against potential hazards. Safety incidents are, on the whole, extremely rare.
Our Teams develop and operate BESS units to very high international safety standards. The safety of people working on BESS sites and those living nearby is our highest priority. Lithium-ion batteries are used safely and securely in countries across the world, on countless sites.
There are a number of measures we take to prevent, mitigate and protect against potential hazards of Greener Grid Park projects:
Monitoring – there are several layers of monitoring with every cell and whole unit being constantly monitored for changes by a Battery Monitoring System (BMS). The BMS adjust the conditions automatically to ensure the batteries are operating safely and optimally.
The BMS also works to identify problems before they occur. It allows the operators to know the health of the individual battery cells so that any deterioration or fault can be detected, and appropriate maintenance carried out.
Cooling - Energy storage systems contain cooling and ventilation systems. These maintain the batteries at a stable operating temperature and remove excess heat in the event of potential overheating.
Protection- In the unlikely event of a problem occurring and the BMS failing to prevent it, energy storage systems have additional design measures such as alarms, fire detection and suppression systems. These suppression systems use techniques such as inert gas, foam suppression, fire sprinklers or water mist etc. to control fires. Statkraft will also work with the local Council, first responders and fire services in advance of the construction project’s to ensure they understand the technologies used in a storage facility and how best to work together to deal with any problem that might arise.
To provide an additional layer of protection, batteries for energy storage systems are also generally housed in separate containers. This reduces the risk of a problem in one container spreading to the rest of the facility.
You can find more information on the safety measures we use on our Greener Grid projects in our Greener Grid Safety Report.
Biodiversity and the Natural Environment
Sustainable drainage measures to store surface water and reduce runoff to the surrounding area are proposed. This can include natural drainage including new ponds, which in turn helps to promote biodiversity.
We are developing our projects with the aim of delivering a significant net gain in biodiversity, and to improve soil quality in the long term. Our appointed ecologist will prepare a document setting out a detailed habitat and biodiversity improvement plan to improve soil quality and biodiversity.
Extensive ecological assessments of the site are undertaken. Sensitive construction methods will be used to minimise disturbance to the bird population.
Mitigation and screening will be built into any planning application. Following a landscape and visual survey and assessment, a planting plan will be produced for consultation. This will include new native hedgerow and tree planting to reinforce the existing green network and provide visual screening.
Yes. If the project is approved and the turbines installed, a community fund will be established to generate funding each year for local community groups and projects.
Based on the project currently proposed (down from 14 turbines to 12 x 3.5MW), this would equate to £210,000 per year (using the Scottish Government recommended figure of £5,000 per MW installed).
We look forward to hearing your ideas about how this funding could be managed and allocated. Let us know your ideas by registering and contacting us.
We have been looking at how our sites could improve broadband in areas where we operate. We have committed to investing in feasibility studies at an early stage across all our development sites in Scotland to assess the potential for this.
As reported in the Northern Times in October 2019(External link), the study for Ackron shows that at least 242 homes could receive improved broadband using fixed wireless broadband.
A local broadband liaison group has been established to explore the opportunities further.