Renewable energy company Low Carbon has announced plans to develop a 600MW energy park in North Kesteven, Lincolnshire, which includes solar and energy storage.
The proposed Beacon Fen Energy Park would include the construction of infrastructure in order to export electricity from the park to the national grid. This would be provided via an existing grid connection at Bicker Fen.
Due to the sheer scale of the project, the energy park would be classified as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure project (NSIP), growing the total number of solar NSIPs to 11. To be classified as an NSIP, the generation capacity must exceed 50MW.
“The UK government has made clear its plans for the country to reach net zero by 2050. Its aim is to increase the nation’s solar capacity fivefold by 2035. If given permission, Beacon Fen Energy Park will be a significant step forward towards reaching this vital goal and securing sustainable energy for the country,” said James Hartley-Bond, director at Low Carbon.
“The amount of electricity Beacon Fen Energy Park could generate exceeds 50MW and is therefore classified as a NSIP. This requires us to submit an application for a Development Consent Order (DCO) to the Planning Inspectorate.
“We anticipate the development process for the project through to Development Consent Order (DCO) submission and then examination will take between two and three years. Subject to achieving consent, construction would start no earlier than 2026.”
The UK government aims to support the NSIP process and the vital role it can play as the UK transitions to net zero.
The current process involves six key stages. These include pre-application, acceptance, pre-examination, examination, recommendation and decision as well as a post-decision. The process is conducted by the Planning Inspectorate, a government agency which became responsible for NSIPs under the Localism Act in 2011.
But the government stated that the current system does not move with the focus and speed that is needed – something that is increasingly of concern in regards to the UK’s energy transition and its bid to achieve net zero.
Due to this, the government is targeting a reform of the process to speed up the development of these major projects.
Solar Power Portal's publisher Solar Media will host the UK Solar Summit on 27-28 June 2023 in London. The event will explore UK’s new landscape for utility and rooftop solar, looking at the opportunities within a GW+ annual market, and much more. For more information, go to the website.