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Work set to start on innovative energy project

27 July 2022

With the cost of energy bills and concerns for long term energy security at the forefront of people’s minds, Cambridgeshire County Council is starting construction on a first phase of an innovative micro-grid project in August at the Babraham Road Park and Ride site in Cambridge.

The project comprises of solar panels generating local energy supplies for EV charging for cars, buses and taxis.

Working in partnership with Bouygues E&S Solutions Limited installation of approximately 4,500 solar panels at the Babraham Road Park and Ride site will start in mid-August.

The state-of-the-art project is expected to be complete in Autumn 2023, transforming the site into a renewable energy generator and providing green electricity directly for vehicles and with an initial significant surplus being provided to Addenbrooke’s Hospital.

The panels will generate up to 2.5MW of electricity and are expected to save more than 6,600 tonnes in carbon emissions over the next 30 years.

Once construction gets underway, work will be carried out in three phases to keep as much of the car park open as possible at any one time. The Council will keep residents regularly updated with parking information via its social media channels and overhead electronic VMS display boards on routes to the Biomedical campus.

Councillor Lorna Dupre, Chair of the county Council’s Environment & Green Investment Committee, said: “We are fully committed to tackling the climate emergency and this innovative project is another example of our ongoing key work. I am delighted that the scheme has taken another important step forward and I’m excited to see it take shape.

“The project will offer many benefits for years to come. Overall, it reduces the site’s carbon footprint generating local energy for electric vehicle chargers, also helping to improve local air quality and supporting national goals of electrifying transport.”

Planning permission for the project was granted in late 2020 and is a similar scheme to the St Ives Park and Ride site. These projects form part of a larger vision of smart energy grids around Cambridge’s transport network.

Investment in projects to generate local energy is a key action in the Council’s Climate Change and Environment Strategy approved in February 2022.

Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CUH) has robust plans in place to halve its carbon emissions by 2032, and carry this through to becoming a net-zero organisation by 2045. In line with the NHS’s commitment to showing leadership through action in tackling climate change, CUH launched its Action 50 Green Plan in June 2022 which set out how the Trust will save more than two thousand tonnes of carbon from its direct emissions over the next three years.

Richard Hales, Energy and Sustainability Manager at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CUH), said: “We are delighted to be working with Cambridgeshire County Council on this exciting project which will directly supply green energy to our hospitals. Developing innovative partnerships like this are integral to our approach to addressing the climate emergency and continuing our trajectory to becoming a net-zero organisation by 2045.”

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