SSE Renewables is to submit a planning application for a proposed 21MW solar farm project to be co-located adjacent to its existing 27MW Richfield Wind Farm in Ireland’s “Sunny South East”. The paperwork, which is being submitted to Wexford County Council, proposes the development of an array on a 44-hectare site in the townlands of Hooks and Yoletown in south Wexford. The proposed solar site is near the existing 18 turbine Richfield Wind Farm which has been in operation since 2006. Submission of a planning application follows a period of local public consultation on the project, which took place earlier this year. The proposed hybrid co-located development solar farm alongside the existing wind farm could increase the typical annual renewable energy output from Richfield by around 25%, enough to power an additional 4500 Irish homes annually.
In addition to increasing the renewable energy output from Richfield, a combined wind and solar asset at the site would be more productive and resilient, because it will be capable of contributing power to Ireland’s grid at times when the sun shines but when the wind does not blow said the developer. This could further support efforts to meet Ireland’s target of generating 80% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030. The proposed solar plant will have a hybrid grid connection with Richfield Wind Farm. The development of the project will be subject to changes in Ireland’s current grid connection consenting regime to allow for “hybrid” technology grid connections to facilitate co-location of wind and solar generation sources. Delivery of the project is also subject to securing an economic route to market ahead of a final investment decision expected around early 2026.
Should the project secure all its consents and progress to delivery, SSE Renewables will plant 15% of the site area with native woodland species as per its own Biodiversity Net Gain targets and also in line with requirements set out in the Wexford County Development Plan 2022-2028. Senior project manager at SSE Renewables Garry Brides said: “The submission of this exciting project for planning permission comes at a time when Ireland is looking to secure more renewable energy. “This project is a perfect example of how we can expand the renewables output for Ireland by leveraging existing wind farm assets for the development of adjacent solar farm projects such as this. “If co-located projects like Richfield Solar are to help deliver Ireland’s climate goals, industry will require more certainty as to how the regulatory framework will be evolved to support these developments. “At present, we lack the necessary policy to underpin these kinds of hybrid technology grid connections. “We stand ready to work closely with key government and regulatory stakeholders to remove any remaining barriers to the delivery of hybrid connections, and so support the delivery of important solar and battery technology projects co-located at wind farm sites.”
Credits: renews.biz [Image: SSE Renewables]