Stanground Closed Landfill: Solar Farm and Battery Energy Storage

The old landfill site at Stanground, to the south of Peterborough, was formally closed in 1992 and remained in our ownership as an ongoing waste management liability.

We are working with Bouygues Energies & Services Ltd – our energy delivery partner – to design and build a Solar Farm with Battery Energy Storage to make better use of the land. The site is located between the A1139 Fletton Parkway, Stanham Way and the A605.

Aerial view of Stanground closed landfill site to the south of Peterborough
Location of the Stanground Closed Landfill Site

The site has undergone screening for its potential to host clean energy projects, and it is well placed in terms of topography, access to the electricity distribution grid and proximity to potential customers for electricity.

The development of the landfill site into an active energy generation centre would be the first project of its kind in the East of England, and it’s possible that the project has the potential to be replicated on other closed landfill sites in the county.

The aim is to create a 2.7 MW solar farm, plus battery energy storage system, covering an area of around 8 hectares (red area on the plan). The solar farm would generate enough electricity to meet the demand of over 700 homes per year.

Summary of the parts of the scheme: solar PV panels and large scale battery units.
Summary of the parts of the scheme.

Electricity would be used to charge a battery energy storage system on site and then supply energy into the electricity grid and/or supply to large local businesses based on demand. It is estimated that the solar farm would save around 6,500 tonnes of carbon over its lifetime.

Sales of electricity and provision of services to the grid will generate revenue to support the continued delivery of frontline services.

  • Location: Stanground Closed Landfill Site
  • Size: 8 hectares
  • Project: 2.7MW Solar Farm plus battery energy storage
  • Timescales: Planning approval received in January 2021

Site ecology

Developing energy projects can have wider benefits than just generating renewable energy. The natural environment is equally as important, as highlighted in our Climate Change and Environment Strategy. Where possible, investment in nature is being incorporated into our projects.

Frequently asked questions 

Below you will find frequently asked questions relating to the Stanground Closed Landfill Energy Project. This project is under development and no firm decision has yet been taken on whether to proceed to construction.

Please check this website periodically for updates on the development of the project.

About the project 

The site is owned by Cambridgeshire County Council. Ownership remained within the Council when Peterborough City Council became a unitary authority, independent of Cambridgeshire in 1998, as closed landfills were regarded as environmental liabilities. As a closed landfill site it currently has very limited uses. As such, after being screened for its potential to host clean energy projects, the Stanground site was selected as it is well placed in terms of topography, access to the electricity distribution network and proximity to potential customers for electricity. Using Council owned buildings and land to expand renewable energy generation locally and generate revenue is one of the key principles of our Clean Energy Strategy. Revenue generated by energy generation projects will help support the continued delivery of essential frontline services.

If a decision is taken to build the project it will be funded and owned by Cambridgeshire County Council.

Design, modelling, feasibility studies, construction and operation will be managed by the council’s energy performance contractor Bouygues E&S Solutions Ltd. Bouygues group is one of the top 10 construction businesses globally and have delivered successful energy projects for the council including a solar farm in Soham, installation of solar panels in 55 schools and the council’s own buildings. Bouygues’ subcontractors for supply and installation of equipment include a range of local businesses.

Yes, the council will not build the project unless the business case demonstrates that the project is able to generate a net revenue. Profits from the project would be used to fund the delivery of council’s frontline services such as adult social care. Bouygues E&S Solutions Ltd guarantee the energy generation from their energy projects as part of their contract with the council. If the projects were to underperform compared with agreed figures, Bouygues E&S Solutions Ltd would have to compensate the council for the shortfall in revenue.

The solar photovoltaic panels and the battery energy storage system have an operating lifetime of 25 years. At the end of this period, the project might either be replaced, or the site returned to its current grazing use.

Planning permission was received in January 2021. If the project remains viable, construction would start around the third quarter of 2021. The construction works are estimated to take 20 weeks.

Benefits of the project

There is a need to move away from fossil fuels to support our response to the climate emergency and move towards becoming carbon neutral. The Stanground Project would generate nearly 2.9 million kWh of renewable electricity each year, reducing carbon emissions from UK electricity generation. It would provide electricity storage capacity which will help support a more resilient network by providing stability and energy balancing services (production vs demand). The battery storage acts as a sponge to absorb electricity generation and to supply it back to the grid when demand outstrips generation. This will create net revenue for the council through selling energy and providing additional services to the electricity grid.

Moreover, the project over its 25-year operating life it would save 6,500 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

The project will include biodiversity and educational features that will have a positive impact on the local community.

Stanground will generate nearly 2.9 million kWh of electricity each year. This is equivalent to the amount of electricity consumed by over 700 homes. Over its 25-year operating life it would save 6,500 tonnes of CO2 emissions (for comparison an average passenger car emits around 2.3 tonnes of CO2 per annum). A typical medium sized home uses 3,198 kWh electricity and 12,500 kWh gas annually.

Provision has been made for a viewing platform at Stanground to allow local schools to visit and learn about renewable energy. We are also investigating ways we can promote the site’s energy generation and activities in visual display units or websites to illustrate the benefit the site is bringing.

Mitigating impacts

The project will need to deliver a net biodiversity benefit. The site will remain grassed, with species-rich grass sown, there will be native shrub and woodland planting at the northern end of the site to improve biodiversity. There will be a minimal area of concrete pads for the battery containers. An ecological impact assessment has been commissioned as part of the application process to inform biodiversity. Strict construction methods will be adhered to and be sympathetic with known habitats in the local vicinity.

Great Crested Newts have been found near the site. Presuming planning permission is granted, we will need to apply to Natural England for a license to allow works to proceed lawfully. Any actions required to protect great crested newts will be agreed through that process.

To determine any potential noise impacts at the closest residencies a  Noise Impact Assessment was commissioned and incorporated into our planning permission submission. It found that noise levels were outside acceptable levels, therefore the project is considering the installation of an acoustic fence.

Solar panels have similar reflectivity to standing water and reflection from the panels is not expected to cause any significant issues. However, as a matter of best practice, a ‘Glint and Glare’ study has been commissioned to assess the possible effects of light reflection from the Stanground Project. Selective tree planting along the site’s eastern boundary is being proposed to help mitigate the glare issues identified.

No. The solar PV mountings will be designed so as to sit on the ground and be held in place by ballast to avoid disturbing the landfilled material. The battery containers will be mounted on shallow concrete foundations off the landfilled area. Geotechnical studies are being conducted to determine the maximum depth of foundations. On the other hand, methane gas production has been monitored since the closure of the landfill, and the site does not produce any significant methane gas.

Ten smaller light commercial vehicles or cars will arrive and depart from the site daily during the construction phase. These will be accessing the site from the slip road alongside the A1139.

The equipment will be protected by security fencing. Security cameras and motion sensors will also be installed to aid in maintaining site security.

The landscape proposed for the site mitigates visual impact on nearby residences and ensures a natural looking environment around the perimeter of the site. 

Other questions

The legislation around electricity supply makes it impractical and cost prohibitive for the council to directly supply the green electricity generated from the project to domestic consumers. Therefore, the county council has been discussing the potential for large commercial consumers to purchase electricity from the Stanground Project.

The tenant’s tenancy agreement will run up until the March 2021. If planning permission is granted and the council decide to build the project the tenant will need to find an alternative site for grazing.

We are confined to investing and building on land we own.

No. We will locate this so that it does not overlook residential properties. Provisionally this will be located along the western edge of the site with access via a path from the site gates.

At Stanground there would still be potential for grazing by sheep or other small animals. However, continued grazing of horses would not be possible as horses could damage the solar panels.

No, all the equipment that will be used on this project will comply with the Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Directive to ensure that it does not generate, and is not affected by electromagnetic disturbance.

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