A planning application for an innovative new renewable energy scheme to the south east of Leeds has been submitted to Leeds City Council for review.
Independent renewable energy firm Banks Renewables has put forward a planning application for the new Barnsdale solar energy park, which will be able to produce enough energy to meet the annual requirements of up to 12,000 family homes and would displace over 9,400 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the electricity supply network each year by doing so.
The scheme would include solar panels covering an area of around 50 hectares of south-facing land between Kippax and Allerton Bywater, around three miles from the Hook Moor wind farm which Banks Renewables owns and operates.
It would also link directly into the Ledston Primary electricity sub-station which is situated along Barnsdale Road, to the south east of the site.
As part of the company’s policy of delivering tangible benefits to the locations in which its operations are based, over £800,000 of the revenues generated by the scheme would be directed into a benefits fund that would provide funding for local charities, community groups and good causes over the lifetime of the project.
A detailed ecology and biodiversity strategy has also been developed to ensure the site delivers a net benefit in biodiversity.
Family-owned Banks Renewables is one of the leading independent owner/operators in the UK’s onshore wind sector and currently operates ten wind farms with an installed capacity of 224MW, including four across Yorkshire.
The Hook Moor Wind Farm near Micklefield generated around 25,350 MWh of green electricity in the last year, which is enough to meet the annual energy requirements of more than 7,500 homes, and by doing so, it displaced well over 6,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the electricity supply network.
The wind farm’s community benefits fund has also supported a wide range of community projects since it began generating electricity in 2016, with over £50,000 going into the fund so far.
Lewis Stokes, community relations manager at The Banks Group, says: “We’re really pleased with the positive welcome that the Barnsdale solar project has had from local residents and stakeholders, and are excited to now be reaching this landmark point in its development.
“Despite the difficulties caused by the pandemic, we’ve been able to share a great deal of information about our proposals for the Barnsdale solar energy park across local communities and have had lots of ideas in return about the different ways in which it can benefit the local community if it goes ahead.
“The UK has set itself ambitious targets for renewable energy generation and we’ve long been part of the drive towards generating as much of the energy that we all use in our homes, schools and workplaces as possible from renewable means.
“The Barnsdale solar energy park will further extend the contribution that we can make and has been located in the most appropriate area for a scheme of this type.
“We hope that Leeds City Council’s planning committee will recognise the many environmental, ecological and community benefits that it will bring to the area and will support the vision we’ve developed for this important project.”
Banks Renewables is hoping to get a determination on the project from Leeds City Council during the first quarter of 2021.
Local residents, businesses and community groups can find out more about the proposed Barnsdale solar energy park, share their views and register their support for the project by visiting www.banksgroup.co.uk/barnsdalesolar
Members of the project team can also be contacted with any queries about the proposals via firstname.lastname@example.org