RWE has committed to providing over 50% Biodiversity Net Gain through new planting and habitat creation. Image: RWE.

German power company RWE has launched a second round of consultation for the 320MW Peartree Hill Solar Farm. The proposed site is near Beverly in East Riding of Yorkshire.

The initial round of consultation took place last year, and the developer has used community feedback to shape plans for the solar project, which the community is now encouraged to view.

It is an opportunity to respond to the updated proposals and will form part of RWE’s second consultation period. Peartree Hill would comprise six land parcels connected to the Creyke Beck substation via underground cables.

RWE has committed to providing over 50% Biodiversity Net Gain through new planting and habitat creation. Based on feedback from last year, it is proposing additional opportunities for public recreation at the site with new and enhanced footpaths, outdoor picnic areas, benches, wildflower meadows and community orchards.

A £4.2 million community benefit fund would be established across the project’s 40–year lifespan to support local causes and initiatives. As part of RWE’s commitment to community engagement, the team will host several in-person and online events as part of its consultation.

Peartree Hill is classed as a nationally significant infrastructure project (NSIP) and will proceed through the development consent order (DCO) planning process. The Secretary of State for the Department of Energy Security and Net Zero will have the final decision on whether the project is consented.

Feedback from this round will aid plans as they are finalised before the DCO submission later this year.

RWE enters the UK

RWE, a German energy giant, has said it aims to commission an average of 450MW of new solar capacity in the UK annually until 2030 to bolster its global capacity, which is planned to increase by 3.9GW to 16GW by 2030.

The company secured a portfolio of UK solar projects through its acquisition of developer JBM Solar. Completed in March 2023, the acquisition made RWE one of the key players in the UK’s solar market.

In March this year it began constructing its first seven solar and storage sites, representing 330MW of solar and 45MW of co-located battery energy storage systems (BESS). All seven projects have successfully secured Contracts for Difference (CfD) and will be constructed to facilitate a co-located BESS asset where one is not already installed. The first site is expected to be operational by the end of 2024.

Then, in April, RWE signed its first UK-based solar power purchase agreement (PPA) with the UK subsidiary of Kerry Group, which will last for over 10 years.

As part of the agreement, RWE will supply energy from its UK solar projects Cotmoor, located in Nottinghamshire, and Copse Lodge in Northamptonshire, via two separate financial pay-as-produced PPAs.

The Cotmoor site was included in the seven sites RWE will begin constructing this year and has already achieved Financial Investment Decision (FID). Copse Lodge Solar Farm is expected to follow in 2025.

Solar Power Portal’s publisher Solar Media will host the UK Solar Summit on 4-5 June 2024 in London. The event will explore the 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.