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Landfill sites in England will convert to clean energy money-spinners

The planned sites in Cambridgeshire, England. Image: Cambridgeshire County Council.

A local authority in England has unveiled two landmark solar-plus-storage projects on existing landfill sites which aim to be the first of their kind in the UK.

Cambridgeshire County Council (CCC), which has been a prominent proponent of renewables, last week unveiled plans to develop the energy projects on landfill sites in Woodston and Stanground, both near Peterborough.

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The Stanground site is proposed to be the largest, combining a 2.25MW ground-mount solar array with a 10MW battery storage system, while the Woodston project will use a 3MW battery. Both battery systems are expected to have a 2C charge-discharge rate. 

Minutes from a CCC committee meeting dated to 14 September 2018 said that, with demand response and balancing capacity services sold to National Grid expected to form the bulk of those revenues, Stanground could raise £1.4 million (US$1.82 million) in its first year of operation and Woodston £380,000. The council noted that “grid services are an evolving market with uncertain revenue streams”.

“However, market reports confirm that with a growing proportion of renewable energy on the grid, the necessity for a response to balance periods of high demand or high penetration of renewables is increasing,” the document continues, adding that there is a “high degree of confidence” that the need for grid services will grow in the longer term.

Image: Cambridgeshire County Council Commercial and Investment Committee.

Crucially, revenue generated from the services is to be used to help fund the county council’s frontline services, with previously-stated revenue generation estimates placing the sites’ combined contribution at almost £46 million over 25 years.

CCC’s energy investment team has worked with frequent partner Bouygues E & S for the sites’ design.

CCC’s experience with solar has been long standing and the council remains one of the most vocal supporters of the technology. In late 2016 CCC confirmed the completion of the 10MW, council-owned Triangle Solar Farm in Soham, the second utility-scale solar project to be completed under the Contracts for Difference mechanism.

This was followed up later in 2017 with the unveiling of plans to develop a near-1MW solar car port, combined with a battery storage system, at the council’s St Ives Park & Ride, with similar plans also planned for the Trumpington Park & Ride.

Additional reporting by Andy Colthorpe. 

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