London’s financial heart—The Square Mile—is to be powered by a solar farm in Dorset, thanks to a 15-year energy deal that could provide a template for other councils to decarbonise their power supply.
City of London Corporation signs first deal of its kind £40m PPA for Dorset solar site
A solar farm set to be built in rural Dorset will help power London’s financial centre in a "pioneering" renewable energy deal. The £40m deal (€44.8m/$53.2m) between the City of London Corporation and the French renewables firm Voltalia will help fund the construction of the 95,000-panel solar farm in Dorset. Under the terms of the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) the Square Mile will receive electricity from the facility for 15 years, slashing a reported £3m €3.36m/$4m) off its energy costs.
The scheme could lead the way for local authorities across the UK
The City of London has signed a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Voltalia for a 49MW solar farm in Dorset, in what it claims is a first of its kind deal in the UK, reported SolarPowerPortal on Wednesday 18 November.
It will allow the authority to benefit from renewable energy from the new-build 95,000 panel solar farm for 15 years. Dorset Council in February granted planning permission for the solar farm that will sit on a site near the village of Spetisbury.
The ‘pioneering’ £40 million green energy deal is the first PPA signed directly between a governing authority and a renewables producer, according to the City of London. The announcement follows the notice of procurement for up to 55GWh of renewable energy per year issued by the Corporation in January.
It will help save the City Corporation around £3 million in energy costs over its lifetime, and provide half of its electricity demand. It will help to power building such as the Corporation’s historic Guildhall headquarters, three wholesale markets and the Barbican arts centre.
Jamie Ingham Clark, chair of the City of London Corporation’s Corporate Asset Sub-Committee, said that the scheme could lead the way for local authorities across the UK.
“It means they can play their part in reducing emissions without the risks of owning their own energy firms or infrastructure and without the need for Government funding.
“Like many organisations, we face an uncertain economic landscape in the wake of Brexit and COVID-19. However, we can’t allow that to prevent us tackling climate change, which is now recognised as a global issue which requires immediate action and investment.”
City of London says new deal with Voltalia will enable the creation of new green infrastructure
By signing a PPA with Voltalia – which has developed, constructed and operated 22 solar farms with a total capacity of 193MW since it started operating in the UK in 2012, and has more projects in the pipeline – the City Corporation gains cost certainty.
The PPA will help the City of London Corporation enact its Climate Action Strategy, which was launched in October and will see the Square Mile become net zero by 2040.
It has sourced 100% renewable energy since 2018, but says the new deal with Voltalia will enable the creation of new green infrastructure.
Ingham Clark added: “The deal, which supports our ambitious Climate Action Strategy, will help cut emissions and give us a cheaper, more secure electricity supply protected from the price volatility of energy markets.”
The City of London Corporation worked with Ernst & Young and law firm DLA Piper on the deal, while Voltalia was advised by Burgess Salmon.
The site will generate clean, renewable energy and export it to the grid for a minimum of 35 years
The solar farm, which will produce enough energy to power the equivalent of 15,000 homes, will provide more than half of the City Corporation’s electricity, powering buildings including its historic Guildhall headquarters, three wholesale markets and the Barbican arts centre.
Local news source The Dorset Echo says site will generate clean, renewable energy and export energy to the grid for a minimum of 35 years, and a number of jobs will be created in the construction phase, with local suppliers used as much as possible.
Voltalia has had a presence in the UK since 2012, developing, constructing and operating 22 solar farms with a total capacity of 193 megawatts – with more in the pipeline.
The French energy firm said they were “very proud” to support the City of London Corporation in its 2040 net carbon zero target by providing clean electricity to the historic Square Mile and the financial and commercial heart of the UK.
Voltalia CEO Sebastien Clerc said: “This new success confirms our leadership in corporate PPA solutions and highlights our capacity to respond to organisations’ challenges when it comes to energy transition. Our model, know-how and strong track record across the value chain of renewable infrastructure enable us to offer competitive and de-risked energy.
“We are thrilled to be expanding our positions in the UK to further enhance our ability to source and secure Power Purchase Agreements within the country and to boost our UK capability in Asset Management to ensure projects perform in line with expectations.”
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