Residents are being asked for their views on proposals to set up the country’s biggest solar farm close to Newmarket.
The Sunnica Energy Farm would be located across three separate sites, Sunnica East, located close to Worlington and Freckenham, Sunnica West A, near Chippenham, and Sunnica West B, at Snailwell. All three would be connected to each other and the Burwell National Grid substation.
The solar farm, if it goes ahead, would allow for the generation, storage, import, and export of up to 500 megawatts (MW) of electrical capacity with the potential to meet the energy needs of around 100,000 homes.
Each solar farm would use ground-mounted photovoltaic (PV) panels to generate electricity from the sun. The scheme will also include a battery energy storage system (BESS), which will allow it to store, import and export electricity to and from the National Grid.
The scheme is classified a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project because of its generating capacity and, as such, is a major development which requires planning permission to be granted not by the local authority but by the Secretary of State for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) through a development consent order. Construction could start as early as spring 2022 with planned operation set for spring 2025,
As part of a local consultation exercise, exhibitions will be taking place starting on Friday, June 21, at Worlington village hall (3.30-7.30pm); Red Lodge Millennium Centre (June 22 noon-4pm); Chippenham village hall (June 28 3.30-7.30pm); Freckenham village hall (June 29 2-6pm); Mandeville Hall, Burwell (July 2 3.30-7.30pm); West Row village hall (July 11 3.30-7.30pm); Victoria Hall, Fordham (July 17 3.30- 7.30pm), and The Beeches, Isleham (July19 3.30-7.30pm).
“We’re consulting at an early stage in scheme development because we want to gain valuable feedback which will help us prepare the design of our plans. We encourage as many people as possible to attend one of our upcoming public exhibitions to learn more about the scheme and share their views,” said Luke Murray of Sunnica Ltd.