Cleve Hill Application
After undertaking extensive pre-application consultation and rigorous environmental studies, Cleve Hill Solar Park Ltd. submitted an application to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) for a Development Consent Order (DCO) for the proposed Cleve Hill Solar Park on 16 November 2018.
The developers’ aim is for the project to be among the lowest cost generators of electricity in the UK and will not require government subsidies. The project will contribute to the UK’s need for affordable low carbon technologies to protect UK homes and businesses from high energy costs. Plans for the Cleve Hill Solar Park also include energy storage, providing a real example for the UK to become one of the most advanced economies for smart energy technologies.
Throughout the pre-application consultation, Cleve Hill Solar Park Ltd. has been modifying its proposals in response to feedback from stakeholders across the community as well as environmental stakeholders, including Natural England and the Environment Agency. In response to the feedback received, the developers have removed 28.5 hectares (70 acres) of solar panels. This has reduced the area covered by solar panels to 45.5% of the developable area.
The proposed development site is located on the north Kent coast roughly one mile northeast of Faversham and three miles west of Whitstable, and closest to the village of Graveney, within the district of Swale.
Cleve Hill Solar Park Ltd. has worked with nature conservation bodies to increase an area for habitat management for birds to 56 hectares (138 acres). The application includes mitigation measures to improve biodiversity on site. The plans also include over 3.5km of hedgerow planting, reducing views of the site, as well as areas of lowland meadow important for bees.
Cleve Hill Solar Park is expected to provide enough affordable and clean electricity to power over 91,000 homes and save over 2.2 million tonnes of CO2. This is at a time when a quarter of the UK’s energy generating capacity derived from coal fired power stations is due to close by 2025. More renewable energy generation is needed to achieve the UK’s goal of reducing our carbon emissions by 80% and to support a low carbon economy.
The project also includes energy storage potential, which is central focus on the Government’s Clean Growth Plan. The proposals include two options for either a battery powerpack solution or a containerised solution, similar to other energy storage sites recently deployed in the UK and globally. Energy storage and demand side response on site will help deliver more renewable energy to homes when there is demand and will allow consumers to benefit from using energy at times when it is cheaper.
Due to its proposed generation capacity being over 50MW, the Cleve Hill Solar Park will be the first solar farm to be classified as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP). This means Cleve Hill Solar Park Ltd’s application must be determined by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in the form of a Development Consent Order (DCO).
The Planning Inspectorate now has 28 days from the submission date to formally accept the application for determination. A final decision is not expected to be made by the Secretary of State until 2019 - 2020.
More information about the proposals and details of the consultation events can be found on the project website: www.clevehillsolar.com