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News Local Government 8th Sep 2021

Freeths support ground-breaking project to convert a landfill site into community owned solar farm

National law firm, Freeths LLP, have pooled the expertise in their local government and energy teams to support Plymouth Energy Community (PEC) in a collaboration with Plymouth City Council, to develop a new community-owned solar farm, at Chelson Meadow.

The project will bring a site the size of 24 football pitches into action as a key part of Plymouth’s response to the climate emergency. To get to net zero Plymouth needs to be making a rapid transition onto renewable power sources, and this project provides one of the few opportunities actually within the city to make a substantial contribution to this ambition.

With support from the government’s Rural Community Energy Fund, which is administered by the SW Energy Hub, PEC has completed feasibility studies which demonstrate this scheme will generate a significant amount of the city’s renewable power. This is enough to power 3,860 homes, while also having the potential to deliver an improvement in biodiversity, and provide a huge educational experience for the public to engage in Plymouth’s net zero transition.

PEC already owns and manages 20% of Plymouth’s renewable power infrastructure. This new project will be three times bigger than their current solar farm at Ernesettle, and will put local people in control over a key part of the City’s transition to net zero emissions. A community owned solution will maximise the local economic benefits of this investment and ensure any surpluses are invested into other local projects that respond to climate change and tackle fuel poverty.

Alistair Macpherson, Chief Executive of Plymouth Energy Community, said, “We are very excited to be working with Plymouth City Council to bring forward this flagship community renewables project for the City.”

Duncan Tringham, Partner at Freeths in the local government and energy team said, “We are proud to be working with PEC and Plymouth City Council on such a pioneering and transformative scheme which will play key role in supporting the city’s net zero vision.

The effective collaboration between PEC and the Council is great model for the successful delivery of such important projects”.

Freeths’ Energy, Waste & Sustainability group consists of over 40 specialist lawyers, many of whom have crossover expertise and operate in the Local Government specialist group which consists of 60 lawyers. Freeths have demonstrable experience in in every area required from real estate, planning and environmental to grid connection, power purchase agreements and regulatory matters. The team has helped to implement a large number of solar schemes including several on challenging sites such as former landfills and quarries.

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