Global real estate firm Savills, headquartered in London, announced this week it has secured planning consent from Welsh Government for the creation of a solar farm with up to 250,000 solar panels and 200 battery storage units with a capacity to generate 49.9MW of green energy with the potential to power 15,000 homes in South Wales.
It is the first renewable energy scheme to receive planning permission as a Development of National Significance (DNS) under the Planning (Wales) Act 2015. Planning specialists from Savills submitted the application on behalf of the Gwent Farmers Community Solar Scheme.
The site is located to the south of the former Llanwern Steelworks in Newport, on land owned by nine local farmers. The scheme will enable the landowners to diversify their agricultural enterprise and enhance the biodiversity of the area.
Nick Beddoe, Senior Planner for Savills, comments on the significance of the outcome, which is the result of four years work on the scheme:
“This is an excellent result for the future of renewable energy production in Wales. We expect the scheme to save over 21,000 tonnes of CO2 per annum, which will make a significant contribution towards the stringent energy targets set out by the Welsh Government. Not only does the scheme make good use of the existing infrastructure previously used to service heavy industry, it will support the future prosperity of the local farming community through diversification.”
Peter Grubb, Head of Planning for Savills in Taunton and Project Director, observed that:
“Savills was well positioned to support this scheme, drawing on its multi-discipline team of specialists and expertise and experience in the energy sector. We were able to prepare a very complex Environmental Impact Assessment and design bespoke environmental enhancements and mitigation proposals to deliver a net environmental benefit.”
Welsh Ministers agreed with the Inspector’s recommendation and granted planning consent, noting that the decision would “Drive sustainable growth and combat climate change”.
Source: Press Release by Savills.