Sun-Powered Revolution: The Approval Of A Colossal 50MW Solar Farm In England


Revolutionizing Energy: The Dawn of Bluestone Farm’s 50MW Solar Farm on Historic Coal Mine Grounds

               In an exciting development that blends history with modern sustainability a 50MW Solar Farm has received the green light to transform a former coal mine in County Durham, England. This marks a significant stride towards renewable energy and echoes the changing tides in global energy sourcing. Bluefield Renewable Developments, a UK-based leader in renewable energy, is at the forefront of this transformation. The company has been granted permission to construct a 49.9MW photovoltaic (PV) asset at Bluestone Farm. Nestled between the quaint settings of Cockfield and the village of High Lands, this project is not just an energy venture; it’s a symbol of progress. The Bluestone Solar Farm is set to be a game-changer. Once operational, it will not only generate substantial renewable energy but also significantly cut down the reliance on imported fossil fuels. This move aligns perfectly with Durham County Council’s ambitious climate change targets, following their declaration of a climate emergency in 2019. Imagine a future where 13,000 households receive their electricity from the sun. That’s the reality Bluestone Farm is poised to create. The projected reduction in carbon emissions is staggering – about 8,700 tonnes annually, akin to removing 5,000 cars from the roads each year.

               In a generous initiative, Bluefield has committed to establishing a £400,000 community fund for local energy projects. This fund will boost energy efficiency initiatives, demonstrating Bluefield’s commitment to both the environment and the community. The location of Bluestone Farm is steeped in history and careful planning. Once a bustling site for both open cast and deep coal mining, and later a pastoral haven for grazing sheep, the farm has been chosen to minimize visual impact. Surrounded by established trees and hedgerows, and with plans for additional planting, the solar farm promises to enhance the local biodiversity. Interestingly, the solar farm will occupy Grade 3B land, which is not considered prime agricultural land. This addresses concerns about food production, as the current farmer plans to continue sheep grazing around the solar arrays. Local councillors have lauded the project. Councillor Jonathan Elmer praised the impressive suite of community benefits, emphasizing the importance of local gain from such developments. Councillor Patricia Jopling, initially skeptical about solar farms, expressed her support after reviewing the project’s minimal landscape impact and the company’s efforts to address potential concerns.

               Alan Connolly, Bluefield’s development director, expressed his delight at securing planning permission. “We are turning a page in history,” he said. “An area once central to our industrial past is now set to power our sustainable future.” Bluefield’s commitment to community consultation and adaptation to feedback is evident in their plans for biodiversity enhancement areas and the community fund supporting local energy initiatives. Jonathan Selwyn, Bluefield’s managing director, highlighted the project’s alignment with environmental goals and respect for the area’s rich energy heritage. With Bluefield now having secured planning for over 700MW of solar and battery energy storage projects, the company is a beacon in the solar energy landscape. Bluestone will be Bluefield’s inaugural solar farm in County Durham, following three successful projects in Northumberland. As the solar industry burgeons, Bluestone Farm stands as a testament to the potential of renewable energy in transforming historical sites into beacons of modern sustainability. 






Credit: [Image: Bluefield Development]

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