UK-based renewable energy developer Exagen has confirmed that its Highfield Energy Park, a hybrid solar and battery installation, has been submitted for approval.
The plans, which will feature a 12.5MW battery energy storage asset and solar generation, have been submitted to Northumberland County Council following an extended period of public consultation and environmental assessment. The solar generation capacity was not revealed but was previously touted to be in the region of 60MWp.
The Highfield Energy Park will generate approximately 52,000MW hours per year and be situated on land to the west of Whittonstall, Northumberland on the site of a former open cast coal mining site. The site will also benefit from “substantial” existing woodland screening and be located on poor grade agricultural land.
According to Exagen, available grid capacity and infrastructure near the site means that just a short section of underground cable will be required to join the solar farm to the point of grid connection.
“Solar provides one of the cheapest and quickest to deliver forms of energy generation and alongside energy storage is an important part of the future energy mix. We’re excited about working with local communities and businesses to ensure the project is not only providing clean, home-grown energy onto our grid, but that the site is also benefitting the local area,” said Mark Rowcroft, managing director of Exagen Development.
“Over the next few months, we’ll be announcing a variety of opportunities for individuals and businesses to get involved. We look forward to hearing from those in Whittonstall, Consett and the surrounding area about how they can make this site best work for them in the long-term.”
Exagen sought community engagement for the Northumberland project and agreed to establish a community fund that will be spent on projects and initiatives in the local vicinity of the project. Communities have been invited to provide input on how the fund will be used.
Alongside this the co-located project will look to boost biodiversity for habitats by 85% with hedgerows set to be boosted by 52%.
The Highfield Energy Park is expected to be Exagen’s second large-scale renewable energy project submitted to planning since the start of 2023.
The other project that was submitted for planning was the 500MW/1GWh battery storage project situated in Leicestershire, which Solar Power Portal covered at the start of the year. Exagen’s Normanton Energy Reserve will be created across 19 acres, require an investment of £350 million to build and be capable of providing enough power for 80% of the homes in the county. It is expected to be energised and connected to the grid in 2028.