Campaigners from the countryside have criticized a large solar plant being constructed in Dorset’s heart. It will be sending all of its energy to London offices.
Near Spetisbury, 75 acres of rolling country are being used to install nearly 100,000 solar panels.
However, the farm won’t produce 50 megawatts electricity which is enough to power 15,000 houses. This will make it difficult for the local community to go greener.
Instead, the energy from the green will flow 120 miles towards London’s Square Mile. It will then be used to power offices buildings like the Gherkin or the Guildhall.
Last year the City of London Corporation, which runs the capital’s financial district, signed a £400m contract with French energy firm Voltalia.
In exchange for their electricity production, the authority accepted to pay the cost of construction of solar panels in Dorset.
The Dorset Council approved the project and construction can now be started.
Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), an environmental pressure organization, accused the City. It claimed that the City had plucked valuable countryside to provide energy.
On 75 acres in rolling countryside close to Spetisbury are almost 100,000 solar panels.
The farm’s 50 megawatts (enough to power 15,000 homes) of electricity will not suffice for residents who want to be more eco-friendly.
Instead, green energy will instead be channelled 120 m to London’s Square Mile. Here it will fuel office buildings like Gherkin and Guildhall.
In exchange for their electricity, the authority approved to pay the Dorset Authority the cost of construction the solar panels.
Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), an environmental pressure organization, accused the City. It was accused of plundering rural England for its energy.
An intermediary utility company will take the energy produced by the solar power plant and direct it to London, or “sleeve”, for a charge
The utility company also agrees to supply additional power when the city’s energy needs are not met.
There are several solar farms already in operation in this area. One is located to the north and one in Blandford St Mary.
Rupert Hardy was chairman of CPRE Dorset and objected.
“That land should be used for food production in Dorset, not for electricity generation for London.
We would prefer to see energy that is produced here be used, particularly when it threatens the beauty of our landscape.
The Cranborne Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is visible from the solar farm.
“We would love to see more solar panels on roofs,” said Mr. London needs to stop plundering our country’s countryside.
It is also known as a sleeve Agreement’ and was signed by a private company along with the UK’s first governing authorities.
It will save the City of London Corporation around £3m in energy costs a year and provide more than half of its electricity for 30 years.
An intermediary utility company will take the energy produced by the solar power plant and direct it to London, or “sleeve” for a small fee.
In exchange, the utility company will provide extra power for times when its plant’s output is not sufficient to meet City demands.
Simon Holt (Voltalia’s UK Manager) stated: “All of the energy generated at the plant will be sent to the City of London, as a customer, through their existing utility providers.
“Because the company depends on sunshine, it may experience periods of low output. The utility company will make up any shortfall.
Holt claimed that the construction of renewable energy facilities in the countryside was inevitable.
He said, “It is vital that they be sensitively located outside of areas designated as national beauty and national park.
“We have carefully considered the possible impact of any project, and in our opinion the positives far outweigh the cons.
“The South Farm solar farm will be located in a dip of the landscape that is difficult to spot from the surroundings – it has been precisely placed.
It has grid availability that is difficult to come by so we used it.
“COP22 made it clear that action must be taken on climate change – unless you do, everything is going to go really wrong.
“This is part that action. We are working to decrease the nation’s dependence on fossil fuels in order to generate the necessary energy. It will make a huge difference in the future.
Andrew Kerby is a local councillor from Spetisbury and said that the project was win-win.
He stated that the countryside and landscape were far from static and natural, regardless of what city dwellers think.
“The fact is that agriculture and how we farm have changed. Once farmers harvested sunlight to produce grain; now, they harvest it to generate electricity.
“It’s a win/win for me. It’s a great opportunity for solar to be a renewable and carbon-free energy source. This will help to ensure that global warming does not increase, while also giving our environment the chance to thrive.
According to Holt the main construction work will start in February 2022, when the solar panels on site are mounted.
It is anticipated that the plant will start to produce energy around the middle next year.