Anglesey’s position as a clean energy hub is set to be reinforced, after planning permission was yesterday granted for a 49.9MW solar plus storage project on the Welsh island.
Isle of Anglesey County Council approved the proposal from Countryside Renewables (North Anglesey) Ltd, which selected the site after an analysis of the entire region.
It said the site benefits from irradiation in the top five per cent of Wales, is located in an inconspicuous location with limited visual impact and is close to a grid connection.
It is also supports the goal of making Anglesey an ‘energy island’. The region already boasts onshore wind farms and the Wylfa nuclear power station, while planning permission has been granted for the Skerries tidal array and now the new solar and storage project.
Countryside Renewables said the 190 acres on which the project sits will continue to be used for sheep grazing, while the scheme will also include landscape and biodiversity enhancements, such as a mile long wildlife corridor and wildflower planting.
The project is expected to provide power for up to 15,500 UK homes a year and deliver carbon savings over its 30-year lifetime of 612,000 tonnes, the equivalent of taking nearly 14,000 cars off the road.
John Dunlop, managing partner at Countryside Renewables, said the inclusion of energy storage capacity will further boost the benefits associated with the project.
“The installation will be the first in Wales of a new generation of cutting-edge solar photovoltaic projects that includes an option for energy storage,” he said. “This capability enables the project to be a ‘Peaker Plant’, storing electricity generated during the day and releasing it at times of peak demand. It can also provide frequency response services to the grid. This storage option combined with the economies of scale from the size of the project allow it to deliver the government’s three objectives of secure, clean and affordable energy supplies.”
Mark Connolly, director at Countryside Renewables, said the project would also help cement Anglesey’s reputation as “a unique place in terms of renewable resources”.
“Once constructed, from the top of Copper Mountain, on a clear day a trained eye will be able to see in the distance wind farms, a nuclear power station, a tidal array and the North Anglesey Solar plus Storage Project,” he said. “It will be possibly the only viewpoint in the world where one may see five different utility-scale clean energy technologies on display producing cost-effective power from nuclear fission, the tide, the wind and the sun.”
The news comes in the same week as a report from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Energy Storage predicted that with a supportive policy environment 12GW of battery storage capacity could be installed in the UK by the end of 2021, marking a 20-fold increase on the 0.6GW installed in 2016.