January 21, 2022 3.22 pm This story is over 29 months old

Big plans ahead for three potential renewable energy parks in Lincolnshire

Powering hundreds of thousands of homes

By Local Democracy Reporter

Three proposed renewable energy parks in Lincolnshire are at the initial consultation stage, and together could power hundreds of thousands of homes every single year, if approved.

Gate Burton Energy Park near Gainsborough has been pitched by renewable energy investors Low Carbon, while Ecotricity has requested a scoping opinion from the Secretary of State for its solar park plans north of the A17, near the village of Heckington, and Windel Energy and Canadian Solar have plans for the Lincolnshire border with Rutland.

It is forecast Ecotricity’s solar park could power more than 100,000 homes with renewable energy, and save in excess of 75,000 tonnes of harmful emissions each year.

Gate Burton Energy Park also comes with big renewable plans, predicting the completed scheme has the potential to generate around 500 megawatts of electricity, which would power more than 160,000 homes and avoid over 100,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions every year.

Following earlier consultation on the Heckington solar park plans from the public at the end of 2021, which provided a positive response, Ecotrictity has submitted a scoping opinion request to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Kwasi Kwarteng MP.

The plans will include a grid connection area which enables the solar park to connect to the existing grid network, and an environmental impact assessment which will consider archaeology and socio-economic implications is to be sent out in early 2023.

Dale Vince, founder of Ecotricity, said: “The proposed solar park at Heckington Fen is an exciting opportunity to fight the climate emergency – it’s relatively quick to install solar power, and quick to decommission in the future.

“By combining with energy storage onsite we can save the energy we generate and use it when the grid really needs additional power.”

For more information on the Heckington Fen Solar Park, visit the relevant section of the Ecotricity website.

The land available for the Gate Burton Energy Park project is contained within one site, located near Gate Burton, Knaith Park and Willingham-by-Stow in the West Lindsey district.

Electricity generated by the park is expected to be imported and exported via a connection into the existing countrywide transmission system at the National Grid’s Cottam substation in Nottinghamshire.

The proposed plans for Gate Burton Energy Park. | Photo: Low Carbon

It would include an on-site energy storage system, allowing for the renewable energy to be kept at the site at all times, helping out when grid demand becomes low.

The consultation for Low Carbon’s Gate Burton Energy Park proposals will run until February 18, inviting the views of the communities living close to the site, as well as those from the wider area.

Five in-person and two online events are being held by Low Carbon to help the public better understand the reasons behind the project and how they can get involved.

Mike Rutgers, development director at Low Carbon said: “This is a major milestone for Low Carbon. We have reached a point in our development process where we are able to share details of our early-stage proposals for Gate Burton Energy Park and start a conversation with local people to understand their thoughts on the scheme.”

“We’re looking forward to using this consultation as an opportunity to start building a dialogue with the local communities so they can share their views on our work so far and help us to refine the project we take forward.”

If you wish to attend an online event, you will have to go on the Gate Burton Energy Park website and register your details in advance.

The seven consultation events for Gate Burton Energy Park will be:

  • Tuesday, January 25 – 6.30pm to 8pm: online
  • Wednesday, January 26 – 2.30pm to 8pm: Knaith Park Village Hall, Willingham Road, Knaith Park, DN21 5ET
  • Thursday, January 27 – 2.30pm to 8pm: North Leverton Methodist Chapel, Sturton Road, North Leverton, DN22 0AB
  • Tuesday, February 1 – 2.30pm to 8pm: Treswell Village Hall, Town Street, Treswell, Nottinghamshire, DN22 0EG
  • Thursday, February 3 – 12.30pm to 5pm: Willingham Village Hall, High Street, Willingham-by-Stow, DN21 5JZ
  • Saturday, February 5 – 10.3oam to 2pm: Marton & Gate Burton Village Hall, Trent Port Road, Marton, DN21 5AR
  • Tuesday, February 8 – 6.30pm to 8pm: online

Elsewhere, the Mallard Pass Solar Farm development by Windel Energy and Canadian Solar would cover more than 2,000 acres of farmland across the Rutland and Stamford border area and would generate enough power for 92,000 homes.

A campaign group has been set up to challenge the development and following backlash the energy firms have said they could scale back the proposals, which will be decided on by government at a later date.

Sarah Price, from the developers, told BBC Radio Lincolnshire on Friday: “We accept that this is covering quite a wide area, but we’re listening to people’s views.

“We’re currently going through the process of looking at the detail design for the scheme, which will be looking at opportunities to move the area for panels further back from people’s homes.”