- EDF Renewables has issued EOI to seek academic partners for biodiversity research for its Longfield Solar Farm
- It wants to contract researchers to understand positive impacts that large scale solar farms can have on biodiversity, soil health and carbon, wildlife habitats and farmland management in the UK
- As aa NSIP project, EDF wants Longfield Solar Farm with battery storage to be an exemplar solar scheme
EDF Renewables in collaboration with environmental consultant Nature Positive is looking for interested academic partners to conduct ecological research into environmental benefits of solar farms in the country.
Calling it an industry 1st initiative, the focus of research will be on the company’s Longfield Solar Farm which it has proposed along with Padero Solar and is a ‘nationally significant infrastructure project (NSIP). It is planned to be located on 380 hectares of intensive arable farmland near Chelmsford in Essex.
Potential academic partners will be expected to ascertain positive impacts that large scale solar farms can have on biodiversity, soil health and carbon, wildlife habitats and farmland management in the UK. Close to 50 hectares of land will be available as an experimental area.
Head of Solar at EDF Renewables, Ben Fawcett said the company aims to make Longfield Solar Farm an ‘exemplar solar scheme’. While the company does not specify the capacity of the farm, which will have a battery storage component, it has secured a grid connection agreement to export or import up to 500 MW of electricity to and from the National Grid.
“Whilst solar farms have become increasingly important in meeting the national need for renewable energy, the potential benefits they can have in improving biodiversity and providing other ecosystem services have to date been poorly understood,” explained Nature Positive’s Mark Lang. “It is hoped the research will contribute to the collective understanding of how solar farms can be effectively managed to enhance biodiversity, influencing current best practice in the rapidly growing solar industry.”
The expression of interest (EOI) can be submitted till July 29, 2022. Details are available on Nature Positive’s website.