May 15, 2024

Progress Made on 480 MW West Burton Solar Project Plans

The UK Planning Inspectorate has finished reviewing Island Green Power's 480MW West Burton solar project. This marks the end of the examination phase for Island Green Power’s plan to develop a solar photovoltaic (PV) complex with up to 480MW capacity and energy storage in the East Midlands of England.

Solar Project to Power 144,000 Homes

Island Green Power (IGP) proposed the West Burton project. The Examining Authority announced on Monday that it will prepare a recommendation report to be submitted to the Secretary of State within three months, with a deadline of August 8, 2024. Planners will now create this recommendation report and send it to DESNZ Secretary Claire Coutinho by August 8. The Secretary of State will have an additional three months after receiving the report to reach a final decision.

IGP plans to install photovoltaic arrays across three sites near the Nottingham-Lincolnshire border, connecting to a substation at the decommissioned West Burton power station. The West Burton Solar Project, spanning Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire, will have a capacity of up to 480MW, covering 788 hectares. The project aims to power 144,000 homes, replacing 24% of the former coal-fired power station's capacity. All sites will be linked by underground cables for energy transfer.

Island Green Power, a prominent global developer of renewable energy projects founded in 2013, is spearheading the development of the West Burton Solar Project. With a track record of 26 completed solar projects worldwide, totalling over 1GW in capacity, including 14 projects in the UK and the Republic of Ireland, Island Green Power is committed to advancing solar energy adoption, advocating for renewable energy, and making substantial contributions to reducing CO2 emissions.

Pre-Examination Stage

According to a report on a website dedicated to the project, IGP submitted its Development Consent Order (DCO) Application to the Planning Inspectorate in March 2023. Acting on behalf of the Secretary of State, PINS formally accepted this application on 18 April 2023.

Prior to this milestone, IGP's team conducted two phases of consultation to gather input and feedback, which informed the assessment and design of their proposals.
The Planning Inspectorate confirmed the project's acceptance for examination on 18 April 2023. On 7 September 2023, the Examining Authority (EA) decided to adjourn the preliminary meeting and delay the start of the examination. The preliminary meeting resumed and concluded on 8 November 2023, officially starting the examination.

The Examination Process

During the six-month Examination period, the Examining Authority (EA) appointed by the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) reviewed the DCO application for the West Burton Solar Project. This process included onsite inspections, both in-person and online hearings, and the submission of additional written materials from various stakeholders.

Throughout the Examination, IGP’s team had the chance to further discuss the DCO with key stakeholders, provide additional details and explanations as needed, and respond to new materials submitted by others. All information related to the Examination, including submitted documents and recordings of previous hearings, is available on the Planning Inspectorate project website.

The Planning Inspectorate now has three months to prepare its report and make a recommendation to the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State then has another three months to make a final decision, due by Friday, 08 November 2024.

The progress on the 480MW West Burton Solar Project signifies a significant step towards advancing renewable energy initiatives in the East Midlands. With the examination phase now completed, the project moves closer to realization, offering the potential to power thousands of homes with clean energy while contributing to the reduction of carbon emissions. As the Planning Inspectorate prepares its report and recommendation to the Secretary of State, the coming months hold promise for further strides in sustainable energy development.

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