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Council votes to approve UK Burnhope solar project

Today we’re proud to announce that Durham County Council voted to approve our Burnhope solar project. This project will generate up to 49.9MW of renewable energy to power 13,800 homes a year, and remove the same amount of CO2 emissions as taking 7,900 cars off the road per year.

The Burnhope solar project has been carefully designed to deliver benefits that go beyond just renewable energy. We went through an iterative design process, informed through environmental surveys and assessments, and consultation with the local community and environmental organisations, where we adjusted our plans based on feedback. We created a buffer area of eight hectares, which will be planted to enhance biodiversity and provide good quality habitat for local species. A bespoke planting plan has been designed to provide natural screening and will also enhance the local habitats across the site. The majority of the land under this project was previously an open-cast coal mine, so has never been suitable for productive arable farming, and security issues have meant that grazing sheep on the land has been difficult. When the solar project is in place, the secure fencing and site design will provide a safe, sheltered space for sheep to graze and for biodiversity to flourish, meaning that the solar farm will support the rural economy and boost biodiversity, as well as contribute to achieving net zero and energy security.

Utility-scale solar projects have an important part to play in enabling utilities and businesses to decarbonise, in pursuit of the government’s target of achieving net zero by 2050. In fact, recent reports by the International Energy Agency state that by 2027, solar will overtake other energy sources in terms of capacity, demonstrating how key our industry will be in the global low carbon transition.

Find out more about our UK development activities

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