A NEW renewable energy park may be on the horizon for Cumbria - with the promise to generate enough energy to power the equivalent of at least 16,900 homes.

Ridge Clean Energy (RCE) has set out proposals for the Great Oaks Renewable Energy Park, near to Wiggonby, Great Orton.

The proposed 40.8 MW project would pair wind (four turbines in total) and solar, combined with battery storage.

The Great Oaks development in Cumbria is one of the first of its kind in the UK, and would 'break new ground' for renewable energy projects in the north of England.

RCE said that combining wind and solar generation technologies will increase the amount of energy produced by the project in varying weather conditions, and the battery storage element will enable surplus energy to be stored to provide various grid support services.

The associated Great Oaks Community Benefit Fund is also projected to provide around £100,000 per year for the 35-year lifespan of the project, alongside a development team bringing 'talent and experience' for delivering projects with enduring benefits for communities.

Marjorie Glasgow BEM, co-founder of RCE said: “We believe that combining clean energy with the needs of communities is the most powerful way to tackle climate change and its impacts."

In addition to the Community Benefit Fund, RCE will also provide up-front seed capital and development assistance for community projects, so people don’t have to wait until the completion of the build to start receiving benefits.

Mrs Glasgow said: “Our local contributions go over and above the standard amounts to community funds.

“We would like to work with the community to support them on their path to net zero, which could include the provision of a community hub, EV charging, Net Zero Community app, support for local public transport, improving footpaths or increased woodland planting.

"We will also intend to provide a yearly energy rebate for households nearest to the project.”

Richard Barker, Great Oaks project manager, added: “The Great Oaks Renewable Energy Park could help Cumbria adapt to the biggest challenges currently facing communities in the UK – climate change, energy security, and the rising cost of living.”

The site for Great Oaks has been identified based on existing access to the grid and appropriate use of the land, the company says.

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The proposed site has good access to a grid connection and is near a disused RAF airstrip where there are existing wind turbines.

It is also located near business and industry, allowing for direct connections that could provide businesses with a reliable source of renewable power over an extended period.

Jo Lappin, chief executive of CLEP said: “Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership (CLEP) is delighted to support Ridge Clean Energy in delivering their Great Oaks Renewable Energy Park proposal."

In early August, Ridge Clean Energy will hold public exhibitions to engage with local communities.

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