Bluefield Renewable Developments Ltd, part of the Bluefield Group, has secured planning permission for its third large-scale solar farm in Northumberland – and the first in the county to include a co-located Battery Energy Storage System (BESS).
The 49.9MW Solar Farm and 60MW BESS is located in Bedlington, 2.5 miles from Burnt House Solar Farm – another 49.9MW Bluefield solar project, for which planning was granted last year.
Combined with the 49.9MW Low Horton Farm scheme in Blyth, also approved last year, Bluefield’s three Northumberland solar farms will be capable of generating enough electricity to power over 43,000 homes, whilst offsetting around 31,000 tonnes of CO2 per annum – an emissions saving equivalent to removing over 15,000 cars from the road. The battery will help to integrate the increasing levels of renewable energy generation with the grid and provide other key local grid support services.
Situated on a well-screened, former open cast coal mining site – which contains no designated ‘Best and Most Versatile’ land or public rights of way – The Broadway House Farm project was well received by councillors and was unanimously approved.
Councillor Barry Flux commented: “It would seem to me to be the ideal place for this. This is far less intrusive than other forms of renewable energy.” Whilst fellow councillor, Adam Hogg, added: “The developer has discussed this application with the town council over a number of meetings and listened to the concerns of us and the residents. This application also provides much-needed reductions in the town’s overall carbon footprint.”
Once the construction is complete, Bluefield intends to graze sheep on the solar site, ensuring a dual use of both food and energy production. In addition, areas specifically designated for biodiversity enrichment will benefit from the creation of a wildflower meadow, rich grassland environments and the enhancement of existing hedgerows.
A sum of at least £300,000 is also to be provided for local community projects in the area.
The Bluefield Group develops, builds and operates solar farms on behalf of the funds it advises, including the stock market-listed Bluefield Solar Income Fund (BSIF). It is envisaged that over time, this and other new projects, will bolster the fund’s existing portfolio of over 100 solar farms in the UK – which currently have a capacity of over 800MWp. This equates to up to 3% of the UK’s daytime electricity usage.
Alan Connolly, Development Director with Bluefield Renewable Developments Ltd, said: “We are extremely pleased to have secured planning permission for our third solar farm in Northumberland.
“We were the first developer to bring forward plans for large-scale solar to the county and – with this latest project – also the first to secure planning permission for co-located solar and battery storage. Our team has worked closely with the county council and local community at every step of the way. This approach has been well received and we look forward to continuing this constructive relationship
Jonathan Selwyn, Managing Director with Bluefield Renewable Developments Ltd, added: “The successful planning outcomes for our three projects in Northumberland, is testament to our team’s focus on identifying and designing well-screened sites that sit well in the landscape, enhance biodiversity and avoid impacting on food security. We would also like to thank the local community and county council for their guidance and support during the planning process.
“As the lowest cost, quickest to deploy and most popular of all energy sources, solar, increasingly integrated with battery storage, is already making an important contribution to addressing both the climate emergency and the cost-of-living crisis. We look forward to our latest projects generating both significant new renewable energy capacity and also offering vital grid services locally and in support of the UK’s accelerating energy transition.”
About Bluefield Development:
Bluefield Renewable Developments Limited (‘Bluefield Development’) is part of the Bluefield Group, a pioneer in the UK solar sector. The group has invested over £1bn in solar and battery storage systems to date on behalf of the funds it advises, which owns and operates over 100 solar farms.
Bluefield Development focuses on developing new, subsidy-free, solar and battery storage projects for the group. It builds long-term relationships with landowners and local communities to deliver projects that produce significant renewable energy, whilst also enhancing the local environment. For more information please visit: https://thebluefieldgroup.com/our-businesses/bluefield-development/
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