RWE has unveiled plans for an up to 600MW solar development on land in south Yorkshire and north Lincolnshire.
The Tween Bridge Solar Farm will include battery energy storage on site, and will be located next to the operational Tween Bridge onshore Wind Farm. As such, the solar and storage development will not require additional overhead power lines or other network infrastructure, the company noted.
”Solar in combination with battery storage fits well into RWE’s UK development portfolio, where we already generate 15% of the country’s energy needs,” said Katja Wünschel, CEO onshore wind and solar Europe & Australia of RWE Renewables.
“Our strategy is geared towards sustainability and the vigorous expansion of large-scale solar will be part of these ambitions.”
Having gained a capacity agreement with National Grid and submitted the project’s environmental scoping report to the Planning Inspectorate, RWE will now undertake detailed environmental surveys.
During the spring of 2023, it will then consult with local communities and other stakeholders with regards the Tween Bridge Solar Farm. Already the company is having discussions with landowners and planning authorities, informing them of the intended site design and layout.
Once its proposals are finalised it will submit a Development Consent Order (DCO) to the Planning Inspectorate. As the capacity of the site is over 50MW, it will have to be developed as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP), meaning it will require planning from the inspectorate and not just the local authority.
There is a growing number of NSIP solar projects in the UK, with 12 having currently been submitted DCOs to the Planning Inspectorate. To date, just two NSIP solar farms have gained development consent from the Planning Inspectorate, the 350MW Cleve Hill Solar Farm and the 150MWp Little Crow Solar Farm.
If development of the Tween Bridge Solar Farm progresses as expected, it could be operational by 2029. The site will be used for animal husbandry once running, and will become one of the largest lowland sheep farms in the country according to RWE, as well as there being an opportunity for a bee farm on the site.
The project marks a significant expansion of RWE’s role in the UK renewable space, having acquired its first solar farm in the country in 2014.
It has an established presence in south Yorkshire and north Lincolnshire, with onshore wind farms at Goole Fields and Tween Bridge, and offshore wind farms the Humber Gateway and Triton Knoll.