Ground-breaking Renewable Energy Park Proposed for East Cambridgeshire
Published: November 25, 2022
This Article was Written by: Daniela Jenkins - Ridge Clean Energy
Ridge Clean Energy (RCE) has submitted a planning application for the Six Oaks Renewable Energy Park, an innovative hybrid renewable energy project that comes with ‘over and above’ benefits for the local communities.
The proposed 49.9 MW solar farm with battery storage is situated about 1.4km southeast of Bottisham in East Cambridgeshire. The combination of technologies will achieve efficient and reliable domestic energy generation.
The project would provide substantial local wildlife enhancements by including species-rich seed mix in between the rows of solar panels to encourage wildlife including bees and birds. Through an array of ecological enhancements, the site will deliver a substantial net gain of 66% to local biodiversity. Existing hedgerows are to be enhanced with extra planted where necessary to provide additional screening and to benefit wildlife.
“We develop each project with the scope to do so much more than generate power”, said Marjorie Glasgow BEM, co-founder and CEO of RCE, “We believe that combining clean energy with the needs of communities is the most powerful way to tackle climate change and its impacts,” she said.
“The Six Oaks Renewable Energy Park could help East Cambridgeshire adapt to the biggest challenges currently facing communities in the UK – climate change, energy security, and the rising cost of living,” said Mrs Glasgow. “The Ridge team have a proven track record in developing high-quality UK renewable energy projects whilst working alongside local communities to create enduring and sustainable local benefits.”
“As a company we aim to develop a close partnership with local communities from the very start of a project”, said Daniela Jenkins BEM, Community Partnership Lead. “We have met with parish councillors, community groups and charities with the aim to encourage and support local communities on their path to net zero and we are working with a local group to improve biodiversity on the proposed site. We are looking forward to supporting community projects and ideas, which could be EV charging, improving play parks or local cycle networks.”
The associated Six Oaks Community Benefit Fund is projected to provide £25,000 per year for the lifespan of the project (up to 40 years), alongside a development team bringing talent and experience for delivering projects with enduring community benefits.
In addition to the Community Benefit Fund, RCE will also provide up-front seed capital and development assistance for community projects, so people don’t have to wait until the completion of the build to start receiving benefits.
The site for Six Oaks was sensitively and strategically identified based on its position sandwiched between two major trunk roads, which limits visibility in the wider area. There is existing access to the site from the public highway and no high-yield land is being removed from food production.
In March 2022, RCE held public exhibitions in Great Wilbraham and Bottisham to engage with local communities. Approximately 80 residents attended the exhibitions giving a largely positive and encouraging response to the proposed project. Many also offered up ideas as to how the Six Oaks Community Benefit Fund can further assist the community. RCE’s Community Partnership Team are looking at how to turn some of these ideas into reality.
Six Oaks Renewable Energy Park – Technical summary and benefits
- The electricity generated by the proposed Six Oaks project is equivalent to that used by 10,700 East Cambridgeshire homes and could provide a direct connect for local industry and businesses.
- Six Oaks should have an operational life of 40-years.
- Six Oaks would benefit local biodiversity through wildflower meadow and species rich grassland between the panels, chosen specifically to compliment the local ecology by providing a plentiful supply of food and shelter.
- Six Oaks would also deliver a suite of additional enhancement measures, including the provision of bird and bat boxes to enhance roosting/nesting opportunities.
- The scheme has also been designed to avoid impacting existing trees around the site. At the end of its operational period, the site would be fully decommissioned and returned to its original land-use, with the added benefit of increased organic soil carbon content.
About Ridge Clean Energy
- Ridge Clean Energy (RCE) is an Oxfordshire-based clean energy company, and its team has an established and successful history of working with landowners and local communities to research, develop, finance, construct and operate renewable projects across the UK.
- RCE supports businesses and communities across the UK in their mission to become net zero by 2050, combining renewable energy projects with a community hub and integrated app.
- The RCE team is unique in their ability to work with local groups to determine how projects can support local activities. We look at all opportunities to add value in a local context, including peatland restoration and biodiversity enhancement.
- More information about what we do can be found here, and you can watch our community ethos video here.