Could the biggest solar farm in the country be coming to west Suffolk?
Plans for the biggest solar farm in the country at sites in west Suffolk and Cambridgeshire have been revealed.
What is it and how much energy will be generated?
The Sunnica Energy Farm would have potential to deliver up to up to 500MW of renewable energy - enough to power approximately 100,000 homes.
Where will it be?
The farm would be split into three separate sites, with Sunnica East located close to Worlington and Freckenham, near Red Lodge, Sunnica West A at Chippenham, near Newmarket, and Sunnica West B at Snailwell, also near Newmarket.
All three sites would be connected to the National Grid at Burwell in Cambridgeshire.
How will the farm work?
The proposed farm will use ground mounted photovoltaic panel arrays to generate electricity from the sun and combine these with electrical battery storage technology.
Sunnica says the aim is to ensure as little energy as possible is wasted.
What are the next steps?
Due to its generating capacity, the proposed scheme is classified as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP).
This means that Sunnica will need to obtain the necessary consents and apply to the secretary of state via the planning inspectorate.
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Why solar energy?
Sunnica says there is an overwhelming need for the UK to increase its use of renewable and clean energy to combat climate change and enhance energy security.
Can I see the plans?
Yes. Residents are being asked for their views on the proposed project as part of a consultation.
Exhibitions are taking place at:
- June 28 - Chippenham Village Hall, Scotland End, Chippenham, Ely, CB7 5PR. Time: 3.30pm to 7.30pm
- June 29 - Freckenham Village Hall, 7 Fordham Rd, Freckenham, IP28 8JB. Time: 2pm to 6pm.
- July 2 - Mandeville Hall, Burwell, Cambridge CB25 0AR. Time: 3.30pm to 7.30pm
- July 11 - West Row Village Hall, Chapel Road, West Row, IP28 8NY. Time: 3.30pm to 7.30pm.
- July 17 - Fordham Victoria Hall, Carter St, Fordham, Ely, CB7 5NJ. Time: 3.30pm to 7.30pm.
- July 19 - The Beeches, 32 Mill St, Isleham, Ely, CB7 5RY. Time: 3.30pm to 7.30pm.
Copies of a booklet with information about the scheme and questionnaires is also available on Sunnica's website - www.sunnica.co.uk - and at Burwell Library, Mildenhall Library and Newmarket Library during the consultation.
When could construction start?
Work on the project could start as early as spring 2022.
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