Government gives green light to 500MW solar farm

The 500MW Longfield Solar Farm application has been approved by the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net-Zero, as the UK Government forges ahead with a target to increase solar power by fivefold by 2035.

Government gives green light to 500MW solar farm

Stock image of a solar farm

The solar farm is located near Chelmsford in Essex and once operational will provide enough renewable energy to power almost 100,000 homes annually.

The application from EDF Renewables and Padero Solar included a solar photovoltaic array generating station with a maximum generating capacity of 500MW, battery storage, and grid connection infrastructure to export or import electricity to and from the National Grid.

Longfield Solar Energy Farm Limited submitted the application to the Planning Inspectorate for review on 28 February 2022, and it was officially accepted for examination on 28 March 2022.

EDF Renewables’ head of solar, Ben Fawcett, said: “I am delighted that, after months of careful consideration, the Government has given planning consent for Longfield Solar Farm. It is a significant endorsement of our proposals.

“I would like to thank everyone who contributed to our consultation and the public examination. The feedback we received from residents, local authorities, environmental groups and many others has helped shape our plans. We will continue to work closely with them to make sure we minimise the impact of construction and maximise the huge opportunities for the area.”

Earlier this year, the Government set targets to decarbonise the power sector with a fivefold increase in solar by 2035, up to 70GW, enough to power around 20 million homes.

Last month, the cross-party Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) cautioned Secretary Grant Shapps of Energy Security and Net-Zero that the UK is at risk of significantly falling short of the 2035 goal without prompt and decisive measures.

The Government’s new Solar Taskforce has additionally stated that more can be done to install solar on commercial sites, including offices, schools, warehouses and car parks.

The Taskforce, led by Energy Minister Graham Stuart and Solar Energy UK chief executive Chris Hewett, also claimed that floating solar installations, alongside well-managed ground-mounted solar sites on farms, could help improve energy and food security without taking up much land.

As per the latest Statistical Review of World Energy report, electricity generation from renewables in the UK was 39.7% of total energy consumption in 2022 with a 24% increase in solar energy generation.

Comments (1)

  1. T C says:

    why does it say Cheshire in the url but Chelmsford in the article

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie