RE: JBM Solar farm at Halse Copse Lodge Farm, NN13 - Grid connection and Environmental Impact

Georgina Mary Daniels made this Environmental Information Regulations request to Western Power Distribution
You only have a right in law to access information about the environment from this authority

The request was partially successful.

Georgina Mary Daniels

Dear Western Power Distribution,
Re proposed JBM Solar farm at Halse Copse Lodge Farm, Greatworth, NN13 - Environmental impact of New Substation and Grid connection for the 49.9KW solar farm including 'necessary infrastructure'

Please would you provide me with the following information relating to the above project, more specifically the choice for the current location of the permanent substation and the subsequent need for the 'necessary infrastructure', of a significant New 132KW Pylon. Under the Freedom of Information Act, Regulation 5(1) of the EIR places an obligation on a public authority to make environmental information available on request.

As part of your Distribution Licence, you are obligated to act in the most efficient and economic manner practical, having regard for alternatives. Please explain your criteria for choosing the current substation site.

The current choice, now some distance from the solar panels, requiring over 1.5kms of permanent track and a New 132KW Pylon, has much greater Environmental Impact and substantial Carbon Expenditure, compared to an alternative location closer to the site, with an existing pylon within meters for connection.

Background - The scheme in 2021 was originally for 120 Hectares of solar panels, that were both north and south of Halse Road, with the new substation compound in the far North nearby solarpanels. In March 2022, this application was significantly reduced in scale to 79 Hectares, a reduction of 34%, with all solar panels removed from the fields to the North of Halse Road. However, the substation location has simply been left by the Developer, in the far north, such that it is now significantly detached from the solar panels themselves. The current location requiring the construction of over 1.5kms of permanent track and a New 132KW Pylon. Please note, unacceptably the New 132KW Pylon was misrepresented to the Community throughout the four years of application, with all textual reference to the substation compound linking into an ‘existing pylon’.
Alternative - There is a much better alternative brownfield site of Halse Copse Lodge farmyard – the constituent farm. This has the advantage of being much more in-line with the National development plan, with significantly less Environmental Impact. It has an existing pylon within meters, as well as an existing farm drive with road access. S11 in the Local Plan seeks that schemes be sensitively located and designed to minimise harm.

Consequentially, please provide the following information:
1. A copy of feasibility study and your assessment of the current location on both a cost and environmental basis. Why have you selected the current location, especially given a New 132KW Pylon is required and detached from the scheme?
2. Were you aware of the significant 34% reduction in the Scheme made in the March 2022 application, resulting in the substation being detached?
3. What is the route of the connection from the Solar park to the substation? What is the distance in meters?
4. Were alternatives for the Permanent sub-station considered at any point in the process? On what basis were these alternatives discounted?
5. Under what circumstances is a New 132KW Pylon required, rather than tying it into an existing pylon with 2 Point Of Connections masts?
6. Up to what distance away does the existing Pylon have to be, to enable connect to substation compound via underground cables?
7. Is it technically possible to link a substation into an existing 132KW Pylon, without two POC masts?
8. Provide an illustration of what a typical 132KW sub-station and connected to an existing Pylon may look like, given current technology? Obviously the least intrusive method please.
9. What period, this JBM Solar farm at Halse grid connection is currently scheduled for?

Many thanks in helping our Community and I, understand the situation clearer.

Yours sincerely

Georgina Daniels
Greatworth Manor
Brackley Road
OX17 2DX
07734 349034

Brewin, Tara Louise, Western Power Distribution

Dear Ms Daniels

Thank you for your enquiry dated 12th April 2024, which I confirm we will review and reply to within the EIR timescale.

Please also note that the FOI Act only applies to Freedom of Information Act 2000 applies to public authorities and public sector organisations, and as NGED is a private organisation therefore we are not obligated to supply information under the FOI.

Kind regards

Tara L.E Brewin
Data Privacy Manager
Data Privacy Office
Electricity Distribution

[email address]
Please consider the environment before printing this email.

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Brewin, Tara Louise, Western Power Distribution

1 Attachment

Dear Ms Daniels
Please find attached response to your query dated 12th April 2024.
Kind regards
T Brewin

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