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20 April 2010

Cornish eco-town outlines plan for UK first solar farm

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Company behind plans for 5,500 home development reckons it could deliver one of the UK's first renewable eenergy hubs

The developers behind plans for the UK's first eco-town have revealed they are in talks with a number of renewable energy firms about installing a solar farm and geothermal power plant at the proposed site in Cornwall.

Eco-Bos, the joint venture backed by Swiss town development firm Orascom and mining specialist Imerys, which owns the land that will be used for the new eco-town developments, said that it is currently exploring a number of different proposals for powering the zero carbon town.

Speaking to, John Hodkin, project director for Eco-Bos, explained that the 5,500 home development will be located on 700 hectares of land previously used by Imerys for its China Clay mining operations.

The development, which will be spread between six sites in mid-Cornwall, will reclaim formerly industrial land and as result the company is expecting limited opposition when it submits the first wave of planning applications for two of the proposed sites later this year.

Hodkin explained that the lay out of the former mining site could support a number of different renewable energy technologies.

"Because of the previous mining in there are some areas are not suitable for house building, but they would be very well suited to renewable energy projects, " he explained. "We're in talks with a number of companies about building a photovoltaic solar farm and we're also working with the Eden Project to explore how we could use geothermal energy."

He added that the plans for a solar farm looked viable, given the availability several remote areas of land on the site that are not overlooked and that fact that Cornwall tends to enjoy more sun than anywhere else in the UK.

Any renewable energy projects undertaken at the site could also be supported by ambitious plans for a pumped hydro storage system that would allow energy generated by the solar farm to be stored for use on cloudy days.


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