UK Coal Authority turns to solar to offset water treatment costs
A regulatory body of the UK coal industry has named the latest contractor for a four-year renewable energy framework to offset the costs of its 75 mine water treatment sites.
The Coal Authority, which manages £2.8bn in long-term mining legacy, has named HBS New Energies as a principal PV contractors to the framework. The announcement will be followed by the installation and management of solar PV arrays at pumping stations that clean the waters located in old mines.
HBS New Energies was successful in a tender bid for identified sites and is now working on a 74kWp array at Chester South Moor, a 250kWp at Deerplay and a 60kWp at Old Meadows. HBS’s Commercial PV Division will oversee the design, supply, construction and operation of the ground and roof-mounted installations.
“We were very pleased with the responsiveness and commitment given by HBS New Energies to deliver these projects against tight deadlines,” the Coal Authority’s innovation project manager Phil Broughton said. “It’s great to see the immediate benefit brought by the solar arrays in terms of low carbon sustainability and operational cost savings.”
The Coal Authority’s environment team is tasked with the management of the coal and metal mine water treatment systems across the UK. The team is turning to renewables to convert mining liabilities and waste products into assets, in this case through generation.
According to the Coal Authority, a small-scale solar PV array was found to be the most efficient way to offset electricity at numerous sites, including the former Taff Merthyr colliery in Wales. The Coal Authority has since submitted a planning application to council to install ground-mounted arrays on the mine.
HBS New Energies joins Campbell & Kennedy (C&K) on the solar framework. The latter was announced as a member in April 2017. Both companies were approached by the Coal Authority through tenders on a framework agreement.
The sites controlled by HBS are set to generate a combined 317,065kWh of zero-carbon electricity annually, which will offset more than 167 tonnes of carbon. Operational costs of pumping the mines will also be reduced through the production of onsite renewable energy.
HBS New Energies’ business development director Stuart Gentry said: “This large-scale solar PV programme is a clear sign of the authority’s future intentions as they look to increase their on-site renewable energy generation.
“The deployment of solar power will help the Coal Authority to meet its aim of off-setting the costs of managing water treatment on site, whilst enhancing their sustainable operations.”