April 11, 2023 8.00 pm This story is over 14 months old

Lincolnshire ‘under attack’ by solar farm plans amid fears grid won’t cope

More are on the way

A senior county councillor who claims Lincolnshire is “inundated” by solar farm applications fears the county’s grid will not be able to handle them.

Councillor Colin Davie raised the concerns at Lincolnshire County Council’s Environment and Economy Scrutiny Committee on Tuesday.

A new report on the energy options for Greater Lincolnshire was met with questions about the flexibility and limitations of the grid.

Some worried about how a move towards electric vehicles could burden on areas of the country where the grid was insufficient.

Councillor Davie (Executive for Economic Development, Environment and Planning) said there needed to be a bigger push for new homes to include solar panels and other green energy solutions.

Pointing to some of the large scale solar farms in the pipeline around the county, he added:  “I would probably say we’re under attack by applications, and there are even more coming down the track.

“We are inundated with applications for large solar farms and other energy projects.

“Lincolnshire will play its role in terms of the national picture but we’re not to be a dumping ground for the South of England energy production where there are plenty of poor quality land options which could be utilised.”

He raised concerns that some battery storage issues and intermittency problems had not been dealt with.

Councillor Davie welcomed commitments from Central Lincolnshire authorities in encouraging new homes to be as zero carbon as possible.

Councillor Ashley Baxter felt there needed to be more information on solar power included in the report, noting the difference in response to solar farms and the Geological Disposal Facility in Theddlethorpe.

Councillor Martin Griggs questioned the capacity of the grid.

“We could build a ginormous nuclear plant slap bang in the middle of Lincolnshire – not suggesting we do that but say we did – but we couldn’t put the energy into the grid because it’s not big enough,” he said.

“There’s a big push away from petrol cars towards electric vehicles and that’s going to be a massive burden on energy infrastructure in parts of the country where the grid is insufficient.”

Committee chairman Councillor Ian Carrington said the weakness of the grid needed to be a key focus for Lincolnshire’s energy options.

“That is a significant impairment to our potential for economic growth and prosperity for our people,” he said, noting “enormous challenges” of getting “electrical goodness” in and out of the Sleaford Moore Enterprise Park.

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