We are proposing to develop the Walpole Bank Solar Farm on land west and south of Walpole Bank Substation, Walpole Bank, PE14 7JF.
Introducing Walpole Bank
The generating station would have an export capacity of up to 49.9MW for distribution to the national grid, providing the equivalent to the annual electrical needs of approximately 8,800 family homes. The anticipated CO2 displacement is around 16,000 tonnes per annum, which represents an emission saving equivalent of a reduction in 5,100 cars on the road every year.
homes powered per year (equivalent)
tonnes of CO2 displaced per annum
Landscape and Ecological Management Plan
Construction Traffic Route and Signage
The solar farm’s benefits
The main benefits of the development proposed are summarised below:
- Supplying urgently needed low carbon and renewable energy to support the national and local transition to a low carbon future, sensitively located and designed to make best use of the spare grid capacity available at the adjacent Walpole Substation;
- The use of the latest available technology (tracking panels and bi-facial modules) that generates 20-25% higher energy yield than static mono-facial modules;
- Delivering significant biodiversity gain, representing 39% increase overall for area habitats and 1780% net gain in hedgerow units. There would be wildflower grassland; 1,600m of native species-rich hedgerow; 300m of new trees and scrub to contribute to species diversity; bird, bat, insect (supporting solitary bees) and barn owl boxes; and new wetland to provide further valuable wildlife habitat. A 10 year Landscape and Ecological Management Plan secured by way of planning condition would ensure the delivery of these improvements;
- As a temporary use the Proposed Development is fully reversible enabling a simple return to wholly agricultural uses at the end of its 35 year duration. Only 4% of the Site would experience ground disturbance as a result of underground cabling, internal access roads etc meaning it is quick and easy to decommission. A temporary planning permission and associated Decommissioning Plan secured by planning condition would ensure cessation of the proposed use and satisfactory restoration of the Site;
- A short construction period of only 20 weeks, resulting in an average of 7 HGV deliveries per day (using previously accepted traffic routes) reducing to just two maintenance visits per month thereafter for the duration of its 35 year operational life;
- Providing an opportunity for the soil to rest from intensive agricultural farming practices, and an acceptable farm diversification project. There would be no permanent loss of agricultural land and the opportunity to manage the grassland around the solar arrays through low intensity sheep grazing would maintain an agricultural use of the land;
- There are no unacceptable impacts on the landscape, heritage assets, amenity, flood risk or traffic/access and the cumulative impacts are also acceptable. The hedgerow planting proposed also helps screen the Walpole Substation.
Getting to net zero
In May 2019 the Government declared an Environmental and Climate Change Emergency. At local levels many Councils have made their own similar declarations and are preparing action plans to tackle Climate Change and its effects. The UK Government has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The ‘Climate Change Act 2008’ target was strengthened in June 2019 to require a 100% reduction in CO2 relative to 1990 levels by 2050 (also known as net zero). This will require a step change in all sectors of the economy, including energy generation. This legislative change builds on previous commitments made by the UK as part of the European Union (such as the ‘European Union Renewable Energy Sources Directive (2009/28/EC)) and United Nations (such as the ‘Paris Agreement’).
Despite good progress in the last decade, which has seen renewable energy significantly increase and for the first-time annual fossil fuel generation being outpaced by renewables, in 2020 renewables accounted for approximately 43% of the UKs generation. Further action is required urgently if targets are to be met.
Recent announcements and proposed changes in law to reduce carbon emissions by 78% by 2035 (bringing forward our current target by 15 years) and ambition to fully decarbonising our power system by 2035 is expected to further reinforce the requirement for change.
The continued deployment of solar farms and renewable energy technologies, including energy storage, more generally are recognised by the Government as a key part of the UK’s transition to achieving a low carbon economy and tackling Climate Change. To achieve net zero by 2050 it will require a rapid and expanded deployment of low-carbon electricity, including solar.
Enso Energy is a successful energy developer, focussed on delivering the right results for our clients, the environment and the local community. We all care about our climate, and we all care about where we live. We believe that considerate solar energy development can make both better. That’s why our holistic approach to solar energy development includes working with all our stakeholders throughout the development process.
Our team has a proven track record in developing large scale energy projects, totalling in excess of 1,500MW of distributed generation. As an independent developer we have worked across the full spectrum of energy generation and storage technologies, deploying solutions that suit each site.
Our vision and mission
At Enso Energy we are making the idea of a country run on renewable energy a reality. We are one of the UK’s most experienced energy developers. Our ambition is to use the latest solar technology to make a positive impact on our country and the communities we work with. We are firm advocates for renewable, low carbon, efficient, secure and sustainable energy that can be generated, stored and utilised locally. We are passionate about creating positive change for the UK’s energy requirements and carbon commitments.
Our innovative and entrepreneurial approach to subsidy-free renewable energy is assisting the country’s move towards a more secure renewable energy supply and accelerating our combined progress to net zero.
We held a public consultation event at which local residents were able to see our plans, learn more about our proposals and talk to the project team.
Our public consultation event was held at Walpole Community Centre, Summer Close, Wisbech, PE14 7JW on Tuesday 25th February 2020.
If you were unable to attend our public consultation event, the presentation boards are available to download: Download pdf here
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