June 15, 2013

AEE Unveil the Coombeshead Solar Park Blog

Earlier this year South Hams District Council decided that no preliminary Environmental Impact Assessment would be needed for proposals to build two large scale solar PV arrays near Coombeshead Farmhouse outside Diptford near Totnes. Now it looks as though developers AEE Renewables will be making a full planning application for the 17 MW solar park at some point in the not too distant future. They have started what they describe as a "project blog" which explains the ins and outs of the process. One of the early articles discusses "Future energy requirements for the UK", and points out that:

The way our electricity is produced in the next decade will alter dramatically. Existing coal fired power stations are gradually being decommissioned and nuclear plants are being closed down. The Government is legally bound to reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2050 (based on 1990 levels). By 2020 the UK is committed to produce up to 15% of our electricity from renewable sources. Currently it is about 10%.

Whilst there is some truth in that the last part is a bit curious, since what the UK Government's web site actually says on the topic is:

We are legally committed to meeting 15% of the UK’s energy demand from renewable sources by 2020.

which is not the same thing at all, since the UK currently consumes a variety of forms of energy other than electricity, and in particular renewable heat contributes to the Government's overall renewable energy targets, whilst the contribution that electricity will make towards renewable transport by 2020 is open to debate.

Putting such petty quibbling to one side, the Coombeshead Solar web site also includes a section devoted to "Community benefits". They say that:

AEE actively encourages the local community to engage in a dialogue to get the best solution possible. We would welcome your comments, thoughts and ideas on what you would like to see within your community.

AEE's own thoughts on local community benefits currently include:

  • An opportunity to switch electricity board to Good Energy, meaning your home will generate electricity from 100% renewable sources, while also receiving a significant discount every year during the lifetime of the solar farm’s operation upon Coombeshead Solar PV farm planning approval.
  • The opportunity to learn about renewables and the importance of slowing climate change.
  • The chance to improve the area’s wildlife and biodiversity.

It looks as though AEE are happy to receive comments from local residents about their proposals on their new blog, so now's your chance to let them know what you think about those potential benefits!

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Comments on AEE Unveil the Coombeshead Solar Park Blog »

July 3, 2013

Jim @ 9:31 pm

AEE have now posted a brief report on the public consultation held in Diptford Parish Hall on Monday. They say that:

There are a number of points we addressed including visual impact, the balance of food security with energy security and landscape management to name a few.

Based on peoples chief concerns we will be publishing more detailed information on this blog over the coming weeks on these popular topics.

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