REG Power and Veolia join forces to utilise landfill for green energy

Tracy AndrewsDevelopment

REG Power Management has been working with Veolia, the UK leader in environmental solutions, for over 4 years to help deliver Veolia’s strategy of better utilising and adding value to its landfill portfolio through the development of a number of solar farms.

Veolia said the project has the ability to be rolled out across a number of the restored landfills the company manages nationally, with planning permission already granted for three sites: Netley, in Hampshire; Ling Hall in Warwickshire; and Ockendon in Essex.

Capacity

Once at full capacity, these three sites will be capable of generating over 70 megawatts, which is enough to power 185,000 homes, Veolia notes – with Netley producing up to 12 megawatts, Ling Hall also producing up to 12 megawatts and Ockendon, which is a much larger site, producing approximately 46 megawatts. This 70 megawatts will be fed into the National Grid.

According to Estelle Brachlianoff, senior executive vice-president for Veolia UK and Ireland, one ‘primary example’ of green energy generation already taking place is at the Netley landfill site in Hampshire.

Mrs Brachlianoff said: “A solar farm has already been installed that is expected to generate approximately five megawatts and power approximately 13,000 homes per year.”

“This came online in spring 2017 and following the success of this site we’re working with our partners to extend the capacity at Netley up to twelve megawatts, while rolling out this project across other landfill sites, including Ling Hall near Rugby and Ockendon in Essex.”

Partners

Matt Partridge, development director at REG Power Management, said: “For over four years, REG Power Management has built a sound business relationship with Veolia and today we remain focused on the delivery of further, commercially robust solar farms at Netley, Ockendon and Ling Hall.

Stuart Whiteford, investment director at Ethical Power, which acquired and built the first phase of the Netley solar farm said: “At Ethical Power we continue to be committed to fulfilling our ambition of delivering cost effective clean energy,” added . “We have adopted innovative approaches to design and implementation of solar schemes, in particular on less sensitive or productive land, such as landfill.

“Currently landfill occupies 2,000 hectares in the UK, which is potentially 800MW of solar generation, and of course does not include other brownfield sites, such as industrial and contaminated land.” The project is being run alongside work to improve the biodiversity across numerous landfills with enhancements being undertaken to protect the UK’s ecology, Veolia notes.

The work includes creating habitat for water vole at Alder Carr in South Yorkshire; the management of habitat for twites (small brown finches) near Oldham; and the preservation of bee orchids in Essex.

This is in addition to the planting of wildflower meadows and planting of trees and shrubs to provide food and shelter for animals, while offsetting CO2, to help prevent the disappearance of species from local areas.

The move towards utilising landfill for solar power generation is a developing trend in the UK. Similar projects to be undertaken include Swindon borough council’s former landfill site, and Viridor’s solar park in Wiltshire.