The UK’s largest solar power plant, due to be built on 900 acres of countryside between Faversham and Whitstable, has been acquired by a new operator that plans to begin construction next year.
Graveney’s Mammoth Site, previously known as Cleve Hill, was renamed as part of the acquisition of London-based group Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners.
CGI showing what a solar power plant looks like
Now its former owners, Hive Energy and Wirsol Energy, have left the controversial project for which they have been licensed and renamed Project Fortress.
Under their management, work was scheduled to begin at some stage this year, but it did not materialize.
Queenbrook, which currently manages more than 1.5 billion won in assets, won the contract and is planning to start construction in the first half of next year.
The 880,000-panel solar power plant is expected to be operational in 2023, with a generating capacity of more than three times the current largest solar power plant in the country.
Project Fortress, which will operate as a lithium battery storage plant the size of 20 football fields, received planning permission from the government last spring despite strong opposition.
The Swale Borough Council, who previously considered starting an expensive judicial review of the decision, says it hopes to speak with the new owners.
A spokesperson said: As planning authorities, we have no views on ownership of any development, but will be in touch with the new owners to develop a contact plan and understand their program.
When the plan was approved by the Secretary of State, there were several requirements for permits that developers could undertake before the plan began on site. This work is ongoing and more submissions are required.
We have liaison arrangements with local parish councils and will consult with key agencies and regulatory bodies that may be involved in evaluating submitted submissions prior to accepting approval of requirements.
We will build farmland and wetlands.
Quinbrook already has two huge solar farm projects in Nevada, USA, and is proud to be an investment group dedicated exclusively to renewable energy initiatives.
Serves as the owner-operator of the 450 million Graveneny site and plans to sell energy supply contracts for the project over the next few months.
Company Co-Founder Rory Quinlan said: We believe Project Fortress is a groundbreaking deal in many ways and represents a new frontier in the UK solar sector, working with large-scale battery storage.
We’ve been working on large-scale solar and storage in the US for many years, and we can apply our critical experience in project design and equipment selection so that Fortress becomes the new benchmark for renewable energy that it supports rather than challenges the UK grid.
We believe this will become the standard for all energy supply projects in the years to come.
CGI showing what a solar power plant looks like with Whitstable in the background
Considered a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP), the solar power plant could power 100,000 homes and reduce carbon emissions by 164,450 tonnes in the first year of operation.
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