The Science Museum Group, in partnership with Public Power Solutions, is preparing for the construction of an exciting renewable energy project at its storage site in Wroughton near Swindon.
A solar farm will be installed on 180 acres of redundant brownfield land at the former RAF airfield, now owned by the Group. When complete the farm will generate 50MW of energy – over three times the amount of electricity the Group uses, and enough to power around 15,000 homes.
The scheme will contribute significantly to Swindon Borough Council’s renewable energy targets, and see biodiversity improvements at the site too – including bat and bird boxes, planting of nectar-rich meadows for insects and better management of the land for chalk-loving plants. There will also be a flock of sheep grazing by the solar panels to keep weeds in check, and to maximise productivity from the same area of land.
The solar farm was subject to a Public Inquiry in September 2014 and was subsequently granted permission by DCLG on the 19 March 2015. The Secretary of State agreed with the Inspector that:
– the solar farm would make a ‘significant contribution to achieving the national target of meeting 15% of the UK’s energy demand from renewable resources by 2020′
– ‘the approach to public engagement has been exemplary from day one’
– the ‘proposed scheme would aid the preservation of the nation’s heritage’ stored at the site by the Group.
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