Early proposals have been shared for two new solar projects that cross the Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire county border. Both projects would generate clean, renewable energy through solar panels, which would then be connected to the National Grid at the existing Cottam and West Burton power stations.
The two projects – Cottam Solar Project and West Burton Solar Project – are named after their grid connection points.
The now-decommissioned Cottam Power Station closed in 2019, while the coal powered West Burton A Power Station is due to close next year. Their decommissioning represents part of the country’s commitment to phase out all coal-generated power by 2024.
The proposals are being brought forwards by Cottam Solar Project Limited and West Burton Solar Project Limited, both of which are being developed by Island Green Power.
Island Green Power was established in 2013 and has delivered 14 solar projects across the UK and Republic of Ireland to date, in addition to projects in Australia and Spain.
Dave Elvin, from Island Green Power, said:
‘We are really excited to share our emerging proposals for these projects. Together, they have the potential to generate enough clean energy to power 324,000 homes using the existing grid transmission system that was originally built for the coal-fired power stations at Cottam and West Burton. Repowering coal generation sites with clean solar energy will support the UK’s commitments to reducing carbon emissions with affordable electricity. The projects will also be contributing towards energy resilience and reducing our reliance on increasingly expensive electricity and gas imports from Europe.
Our team has undertaken an extensive process of site selection to identify appropriate sites in the area through agreement with relevant landowners. They have considered a wide range of factors, including environmental and heritage designations and visual impact. We believe the use of several separate land parcels reduces the impact on the local area in comparison to fewer larger sites.
We recognise the need to deliver these projects sensitively. We want to talk with local communities to understand their views and listen to their ideas. This will help us to develop our proposals more thoroughly. We frequently make changes that improve our projects based on public feedback. Our project websites and contact channels are now live, and we will be looking to launch our first phase of community consultation soon. I would encourage anyone with an interest in these projects to get in touch and take part in our upcoming consultation.”
The Cottam Solar Project would generate up to 600 MW of renewable energy and involves a series of three areas of land in the West Lindsey District, in the vicinity of Coates, Corringham, and Blyton.
The West Burton Solar Project would generate up to 480 MW of renewable energy and involves a series of four areas of land. Three of these areas of land are in the West Lindsey District, in the vicinity of Broxholme, Ingleby and Brampton. The fourth area of land is in the Bassetlaw District, in the vicinity of Clayworth and Gringley on the Hill.
These areas of land would be connected by underground cable. The projects also include energy storage facilities, making energy available for when it is needed most.
Given the amount of renewable energy these projects would generate, they will be classified as Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs). This means that, to gain permission to build them, Development Consent Order (DCO) applications will be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) after extensive consultation with stakeholders including local communities and District and County Councils. The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) will determine whether to grant consent for the proposals.
A dedicated website has been launched for each project, where more information is available (www.cottamsolar.co.uk and www.westburtonsolar.co.uk). These websites will be updated as the proposals develop.
The team developing the proposals are preparing to launch a first phase of public consultation shortly, to give local communities and stakeholders the opportunity to input into the project development process. This will be followed by further environmental assessment and design work ahead of a second phase of consultation on more detailed proposals next year, before submitting the DCO applications.
If consented, it is anticipated that construction on the projects could start from 2024 onwards.