Solar farm the size of 170 football pitches at former RAF Coltishall site a step closer

A huge solar farm could be installed at the former RAF Coltishall site. Picture: Mike Page. A huge solar farm could be installed at the former RAF Coltishall site. Picture: Mike Page.

Monday, May 12, 2014
12:58 PM

The way has been smoothed for a massive solar farm to cover half the former RAF Coltishall site.

To send a link to this page to a friend, you must be logged in.

Norfolk County Council bought the former air base for £4m in January last year and, as part of its vision for what might happen at the 600 acre site, a 50-acre solar farm was proposed.

But, the council says further investigation has established that, with the electric supply grid in Norfolk at capacity, the necessary 22km cable to connect the Coltishall site to Norwich would cost millions of pounds.

That makes a small scale farm unviable, according to council officers, so to recoup investment a much larger scheme would be needed.

And a renewable energy developer has approached the council seeking a 25-year lease on up to 300 acres (120 hectares) of grassland to run a large scale commercial solar farm.

At a size of about 170 football pitches, it would be the biggest in Norfolk and one of the largest in England.

Taking up half the site, tens of thousands of photo-voltaic panels would generate 60 megawatts of energy - enough to power more than 18,000 homes for a year.

The council says it cannot reveal the identity of that developer - or how much such a scheme would cost - for commercial reasons.

But they have drafted in specialist advisors from Deloitte to help officers carry out due diligence on the proposal.

The controlling Labour/Liberal Democrat cabinet at County Hall decided today to increase the scale of the solar farm originally envisaged in the council’s development vision for the Coltishall site.

If and when a planning application comes forward, it will be discussed by North Norfolk District Council, rather than by the county council.

While the developer would make the money from the sale of power to the National Grid, the county council would receive the rent for the land.

Richard Bearman, leader of the Green group, said he welcomed the solar farm proposal, but that mistakes made in the past must be learned.

The recommendation was agreed subject to officers ensuring the council is not exposed to inappropriate financial risk.

Norfolk County Council officers said it would be clear if the deal could go ahead within months.

And George Nobbs, leader of Norfolk County Council said: “I cannot say more for reasons of commercial confidentiality, but I do not think anybody will have grounds for complaint about the deal which officers are currently negotiating.”

Families living in nearby Badersfield, who are angry at proposals to rip up the ends of the runway, had previously signed a petition backing a solar farm.

22 comments

  • Andy T. Where can the public find the figure you are quoting - income of £3 million over 25 years - I like to see evi.dence before making comment and have not seen this quoted anywhere except in your post.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Canary Boy

    Sunday, May 18, 2014

  • Hello Windless. I read with interest your many views on renewable energy projects, subsidies etc. Could you outline how you see energy policy shaping up in the future. Coal, Nuclear, Gas where do you see our power coming from over the next few decades.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Barney

    Friday, May 16, 2014

  • Canary Boy, Windless is correct on many points. The Solar cells only work in daytime, but contrary to old myth they do work on cloudy days and at low light levels ie. early morn' & evening. The 60MW issue is misleading as Windless said, they are talking power ie. megawatts = 60, 000,000 watts. Where as energy, like electric bills, are measured in watts per hour usually a kilowatthour. So, trying to explain the nonsense, ...solar works in daylight so 0 watts at night, whereas the incinerator would work 24hrsday hence differing numbers of homes, call it poetic license. Solar power owners get very generous Govm't rebates though as they're green power. As for confidentiality, it's a poor excuse not to divulge local authority (dubious) business deals!

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    mbroadbent111

    Wednesday, May 14, 2014

  • Canary Boy. Please always remember that any figures for "the number of homes" that the Green Lunacy will power is plucked from thin air by a biased Greeniot, not someone half sensible like you, or me! Always remember this unbreakable fact though:- Green Energy =Idiocy, every time!!

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Windless

    Tuesday, May 13, 2014

  • Cllr. Bearmann agrees to subsidise a private individual's unsustainable solar panels with taxpayers money? benefitting a priviledged person who can afford the panels, rather than fighting to change this ludicrous policy. The same councillors who use rising sea levels as election scares but don't want to see a tidal energy scheme and barrier across the Wash. Greens are now full of bent sour arguments, selective Conservation ueber alles, no time at all for people, but loads of time for private developers.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Tuesday, May 13, 2014

  • Can anyone explain how this proposal, which I have no objection to at all if local people are happy with it, will produce 60MW of energy which they tell us would be enough to power 18,000 homes BUT the incinerator which was going to produce around 20MW of energy was promoted as producing enough power to supply 36,000 homes! Either the solar farm producing 60MW is underestimating the number of homes that power could supply or NCC and CW were massively over estimating the number of homes that could be powered by the incinerator. I still have the promotional materials relating to the incinerator and have double checked the claims.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Canary Boy

    Tuesday, May 13, 2014

  • "End to solar farm blight as subsidy scheme is scrapped" Encouraging headline in today's Telegraph online page Onshore wind next!! So, sorry Andy T, your pipedream remains just that! Green Energy=Idiocy, every time!

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Windless

    Tuesday, May 13, 2014

  • So for those criticising the previous administration for buying it should be eating their words. Cost them £4M to buy and they could now get a return of £3M per annum for 25 years. What was originally thought to be a white elephant, could turn out to be a long term golden goose. Even though Nobbs had absolutely nothing to do with the purchase, he will no doubt try to take the credit.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Andy T

    Tuesday, May 13, 2014

  • There are many levels of idiocy available, for example, the idiotic purchase (£4,000,000) by idiotic Councillors of an airfield with no business plan, nor any real idea what to do with it once bought (This same council trying to save £100m BTW) Then when you have this idiotic purchase, you decide to cover it with solar subsidy panels, note subsidy, not generation. (If no subsidy, no-one, even at the low level of council would even consider installing them) You then discover that to take this intermittent amount of electricity to the National Grid needs a hugely expensive underground cable to the nearest point on the grid. You then discover that the grid has to have PROPER generation to back-up these things when there is no output from them, this usually done using imported Norwegian Gas. You then discover that these things only work in daylight, and good daylight at that, so these "18000 homes" which this will power better have a large stock of candles for the other 12hrs a day in winter! Enjoy your increased utility bills people, paying the Greeniot subsidy for so called Carbon reduction. Lunatics running the asylum..........again!] Green Energy = Idiocy, every time!

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Windless

    Tuesday, May 13, 2014

  • Or they could build a mega gasworks, no theres a thought.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    gerry mitson

    Tuesday, May 13, 2014

  • Come on now, as I see it this cable will cost over £6 Million just to lay and that's just for starters, when you take into all the other associated work, the plan is simply not economically feasible, that is unless the poor old Norfolk taxpayer has to foot the bill for this cable and that would be of no surprise with the charlatans at county hall. Yes it looks like they have got us into another fine mess, doesn't it?

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    John L Norton

    Monday, May 12, 2014

  • What do they mean they cant reveal the identity of the developer. Of course they do. He has to apply for planning permission like everyone else and that has to be on the application that has to be displayed on the main road into a site. Not do that not get any further. The district council tried doing that to our village. An unpopular development had its application form hidden away so people couldn't see it and object. So we kept finding it and photographing it and sending it to the council. They finally gave up and put it in a prominent place. Didn't do them any good. We had the application thrown out anyway but it was fun playing cat and mouse with the idiots. Stop trying to get the better of the public Gnobbs and Co. Those days are long gone.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    alecto

    Monday, May 12, 2014

  • 3m every year Doh!! to myself....come on N0bbs who's your crime partner??

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    nrg

    Monday, May 12, 2014

  • a grand return of £3m in subsidies for N0bbs secret partner.Paid from our ever increasing bills.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    nrg

    Monday, May 12, 2014

  • 0.8 per cent is the grand total towards Norfolk's energy needs. And that's only during daylight hours. Come on N0bbs lets see your partner in this crime!

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    nrg

    Monday, May 12, 2014

  • This is exactly the same story that was printed a couple of weeks ago, short of news worthy material Archant?

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Vic Sponge

    Monday, May 12, 2014

  • Surely a scheme like this should go out to tender to obtain the best deal ? It appears to be another closed door job and we all know what happened the last time the council made decisions that were not transparent.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Michael Clintergate

    Monday, May 12, 2014

  • Yes but much better than wind turbines!

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Norfolk John

    Monday, May 12, 2014

  • After the incinerator debacle, hiding information behind "commercial sensitivity" shows continuing ignorance and a disdain for the electorate.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    theanchovy

    Monday, May 12, 2014

  • Another lunatic green energy scheme.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Disgusted of Norwich South

    Monday, May 12, 2014

  • Probably would have been a good idea to have called in the experts prior to spending millions of pounds of taxpayers money. This would have confirmed at an early stage that the electric supply grid is at capacity. This is an ongoing issue that not only affects Norfolk. The majority of grid infrastructure throughout the country is at capacity and in some cases completely unsuitable for incorporating and handling new forms of power generation whether it be solar, wind, bio-mass, new generation nuclear etc.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Grey Fox

    Monday, May 12, 2014

  • "The council says it cannot reveal the identity of that developer - or how much such a scheme would cost - for commercial reasons." What rubbish! No doubt this will end in tears.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    theanchovy

    Monday, May 12, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Norfolk Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 19°C

min temp: 14°C

Five-day forecast

loading...

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT