Developing an innovation park powered by 100% renewable energy
Chelveston Renewable Energy & Innovation Park is the UK’s largest combined renewable energies facility, and we’re always looking for new ways to create a greener world. The latest addition to the energy park is an innovation park that offers 32,900M² of employment space for green-minded businesses, with a direct wire feed of renewable energy generated on site.
Our story began in 2005 when Wykes Engineering partnered with commercial property specialists, Prop-search, to purchase a former RAF and US Airforce base in Northamptonshire. After complex planning discussions, we were able to begin work on this world-class renewable energy park. Over the last decade, the park has grown to a production capacity of 185 GWh.
Chelveston is different from most renewable energy sites in combining both solar and wind energy production to generate power. Today, the site is home to nine 2.85-megawatt land-based turbines and, by next year, we will grow our solar capacity to include 500,000 solar panels with an installed capacity of 120 megawatts.
We continually push technical boundaries to find innovative ways to create more efficient and usable renewable energy sources. Right now, we are constructing an array dedicated to hydrogen production which will be entirely powered by solar energy, and working with one of the UK’s biggest car manufacturers to recycle electric car batteries to store power generated on the park. We have also developed technology to retain the energy in DC.
Last November, we secured planning permission to create an innovation park that will be home to independent businesses powered by renewable energy from Chelveston at lower retail pricing than the national grid. These will all be power-focused businesses (a minimum of 200 kWh per square foot, per year) and are set to include vertical farming, food production, and specialist recycling, amongst others.
The energy park’s wind and solar generation will be supported by a peak lopping station. This station will be powered by four hybrid hydrogen/gas -fuelled engines with the capacity to generate 47 megawatts. This station will help to supplement the power supply to the innovation park when there is reduced wind or sunshine generation.
Scale up –
It’s hard to deliver viable and meaningful renewable energy generation if you don’t think at scale. If you’re considering a project like this – go big.
Understand grid connections –
If you’re going to generate energy, you have to get it into the National Grid and you should have access to a large-capacity grid node.
Engage with the local authority –
For a renewable energy site, you’re going to need unusual planning permission. Develop a good, early relationship with your local planning authority.
Plan for evolution – Renewable technology is evolving constantly; you need to plan for future change and build in the ability to move with innovation.