A planning application for an innovative new renewable energy generation and storage project to the east of Sheffield has been submitted to Rotherham Council.
Independent renewable energy firm Banks Renewables is looking to create a new solar energy park at a 116-hectare site to the west of the Todwick Road Industrial Estate in Dinnington, around three miles to the east of Banks’ Penny Hill wind farm.
The Common Farm Solar project would have an installed capacity of up to 50MW, which would be enough to meet the annual electricity requirements of up to 18,800 family homes and would displace over 11,470 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the electricity supply network each year.
The planning application is expected to come before Rotherham Council’s planning committee before the end of the year.
A battery electricity storage system linking directly into the Thurcroft electricity sub-station around three kilometres to the north of the site forms part of the project, which will help support the long-term security of energy supplies to UK consumers.
As part of Banks’ policy of delivering tangible benefits to the places in which its operations are based, the Common Farm Solar Park would deliver an annual package of community benefits totalling £50,000 or more than £2,000,000 through its lifetime to support local community projects.
A detailed ecology and biodiversity strategy which will ensure the site delivers a net benefit in biodiversity to the local community also forms part of the scheme.
The ground around and beneath the solar panels will be used to create a wildflower meadow and there will be increased planting of hedgerows, while part of the site will also be managed to encouraged Lapwings to thrive.
Banks Renewables is one of the leading owner/operators in the UK’s onshore wind sector and has four operational sites across Yorkshire.
The Penny Hill Wind Farm, the Hook Moor Wind Farm to the east of Leeds, the Marr Wind Farm to the west of Doncaster and the Hazlehead Wind Farm near Barnsley generated almost 89,000 MWh of electricity between them during the company’s last financial year, as well as over £50,000 in total for their respective community benefits funds.
Penny Hill Wind Farm’s community benefits fund has supported a wide range of community projects over the last nine years, with over £202,000 being directed into it since the wind farm began generating electricity in 2013 and grants totalling more than £140,000 awarded to local organisations.
Lewis Stokes, senior community relations manager at The Banks Group, says: “The initial response we’ve had to our ideas from local people and community leaders has generally been positive and we’re grateful to all those who’ve taken the time to share their thoughts, questions and comments so far.
“Maximising the production of renewable energy from domestic sources is a crucial part of the UK’s ongoing journey towards its Net Zero targets, especially within the current energy security climate.
“The Common Farm solar scheme will extend the contribution that we’re able to make locally towards reaching these goals while also increasing the tangible benefits that we can deliver to local communities through the benefits package that will form a key part of the project.
“We’re excited at what can be achieved through this important project and hope that Rotherham Council’s planning committee will support our vision for delivering it.”
Full details of the proposed Common Farm solar energy park development can be found at www.banksgroup.co.uk/commonfarm, while members of the project team can be contacted with any queries about the proposals via firstname.lastname@example.org