New brownfield renewable energy projects to power 63,000 homes

Two former collieries are being given a renewable energy makeover with the construction of a new solar farm and a £200m energy centre together set to generate up to 43.5MW of electricity.

The larger of the two separate projects will see Kellingley Colliery in North Yorkshire transformed into a state-of-the-art energy centre, which will use residual waste to generate low carbon electricity and heat.

Earlier this week, members of North Yorkshire County Council’s Planning and Regulatory Functions Committee gave Peel Environmental the green light to go ahead with the project, which will produce up to 26MW of electricity – enough to power around 63,000 homes in the local area.

Peel Environmental’s managing director Myles Kitcher said: “This facility is one of a number of energy centres we are developing across the UK which will help broaden the energy mix and move waste away from landfill. We adopt a flexible business model and are keen to work with a range of delivery partners to fund, build and operate such facilities.

“This decision demonstrates that waste is still a vibrant sector. The overriding economic and environmental benefits of this type of development mean they offer real investment and employment opportunities.”

It comes in the same week that Tamar Energy received consent for an anaerobic digestion facility at Peel Environmental’s Wardley site, as part of a five-site deal with the company. 

Solar farms

Meanwhile, the second former colliery to be converted is a 74-acre site in the Rhymney Valley in South Wales.

Conergy, one of the world’s largest solar downstream companies, has acquired a disused mine upon which it will build a 13.5MW solar farm – capable of producing enough electricity to meet the needs of 2,400 homes.

Labour MP for Caerphilly Wayne David said: “This is tremendous news for the local area. The solar farm will be in an ideal location and will certainly capture plenty of sunlight. It will send out a positive message about the Rhymney Valley and the future of solar power.”

Conergy has also this week acquired a second, 20-acre plot at Winnards Perch in Cornwall, which the firm will use to build a 4.5MWp solar power plant, capable of powering 800 homes.

Both solar projects were developed by Solar Securities and will be completed by the end of this year, forming part of 76MWp of new capacity that Conergy now has under construction in the UK. Earlier this year, the renewable energy company built solar plants with a combined capacity of 68MWp, including a 7MWp plant close to Cardiff capable of powering 1,250 homes.

Industry growth

Conergy’s managing director Robert Goss said: “Coal powered Britain for over a hundred years and whole communities grew up around it. Solar is a simple technology, lasts for decades and can be deployed wherever people live.

“No one needs to get their hands dirty or risk their life so that others can turn on the dishwasher, which is why solar will continue to grow in the UK.”

Earlier this year, edie reported on a similar project as land remediation and regeneration firm Harworth Estates announced it was installing 30MW of solar generation across four former colliery sites in the North and Midlands. Read more about that here.

Luke Nicholls

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