Ground-breaking Renewable Energy Park Proposed for the Isle of Wight
Published: November 3, 2022
This Article was Written by: Teresa Hall - Ridge Clean Energy
Ridge Clean Energy (RCE) has set out proposals for the Sunny Oaks Renewable Energy Park, an ‘Island first’ hybrid renewable energy project that comes with tangible benefits for the local community.
The proposed ~20MW park, situated south-west of Wootton on the Isle of Wight, would pair solar with battery storage. The combination of technologies would deliver efficient, reliable, and stable energy generation.
The associated Sunny Oaks Community Benefit Fund is also projected to provide a minimum of £10,000 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 benefits for communities“
Now, more than ever the Isle of Wight needs to focus on sustainable development. The Footprint Trust fully supports the Sunny Oaks Renewable Proposal by Ridge Clean Energy. This project will be a positive step forward in reducing our impact on our planet.” said Ray Harrington-Vail founder and CEO of The Footprint Trust.
Marjorie Glasgow BEM, co-founder of RCE says “We develop each project with the scope to do so much more than generate power. We believe that combining clean energy with the needs of communities is the most powerful way to tackle climate change and its impacts”.
She adds, “Our local contributions and up-front seed capital go over and above the Community Benefit Fund. We are working with islanders to support the local food sharing network, and efforts to provide assistance in the face of rising energy costs. We are also working to create renewable energy industry placements for those who wish to learn more about this field of employment.’’
“The Sunny Oaks Renewable Energy Park could help the Isle of Wight adapt to big challenges currently facing communities in the UK – climate change, domestic energy security, and the rising cost of living,” said Jonny Murphy, Sunny Oaks Project Manager. “We’ve worked closely with Island-based technical teams to not only manage impacts, but also to develop a scheme resulting in biodiversity net gain.”
Infrastructure would be located on land assessed as moderate to poor quality (not ‘Best and Most Versatile’), that also helps to diversify a local Island business which itself is important to the community.
Ridge Clean Energy held two public exhibitions to engage with local communities in May 2022. The application has now been submitted (its reference is 22/01585/FUL) which can be viewed [https://beta.iow.gov.uk/planning/planning-applications/application-search-view-and-comment/].
Sunny Oaks Renewable Energy Park – Technical summary and benefits
- The energy generated by the proposed Sunny Oaks Renewable Energy Park would be equivalent to powering approximately 5,150. Island homes (equating to approximately 8% of homes of the Island when considered against the 2011 census).
- The Community Benefit Fund would be a minimum of £10,000 a year.
- Sunny Oaks should have an operational life of 40-years.
- Sunny Oaks would benefit local biodiversity through wildflower meadow and species rich grassland between the panels, chosen specifically to complement the local ecology by providing a plentiful supply of food and shelter.
- The scheme has also been designed to avoid impacting existing trees within the site, as well as creating a safe buffer zone to protect nearby ancient woodland. 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 Ridge team is unique in their ability to work with local groups to determine how projects can support local activities. We look at 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.