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Voltalia’s Dorset solar farm to power the City of London

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Energy Global,

Voltalia, an international player in renewable energies, strengthens its presence in the UK and will build a 49.9 MW solar power plant to supply green electricity to the City, London's prestigious business district, under a 15 year contract.

A £40 million green energy deal could provide a blueprint for local authorities seeking to reduce carbon emissions and cut costs, the City of London Corporation has said.

The governing body of the Square Mile has signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Voltalia to buy all the electricity produced by a new-build 95 000-panel solar farm in Dorset, for 15 years.

The deal will enable Voltalia to leverage cash to build the facility, while saving the City Corporation around £3 million in energy costs.

The Corporation says the arrangement will allow cost certainty and avoid the risks involved with local authority-owned energy firms, following recent high-profile selloffs of loss-making council-owned companies in Nottingham and Bristol.

The solar plant will have a total capacity of 49.9 MW - enough to power the equivalent of 15 000 homes - and will provide over half the City Corporation’s electricity, powering buildings including its historic Guildhall headquarters, three wholesale markets and the Barbican arts centre.

The new deal forms part of the organisation’s wider commitment to climate action. Its ‘Climate Action Strategy’, launched last month, commits it to making the Square Mile net zero for carbon emissions by 2040, 10 years earlier than Government goals.

Voltalia has had a presence in the UK since 2012, developing, constructing and operating 22 solar farms with a total capacity of 193 MW, with more in the pipeline.

The City Corporation has been sourcing 100% renewable electricity through existing infrastructure since 2018, but the deal with Voltalia will enable the creation of new green infrastructure, reduce the need for fossil fuels, and help meet green energy goals.

The City Corporation’s ‘Climate Action Strategy’ commits the organisation to creating more space for walking and cycling in the Square Mile, with wider pavements and new parks, and updating planning regulations to encourage more sustainable buildings, creating 800 green jobs.

The City Corporation worked with global professional services network Ernst & Young and multinational law firm DLA Piper on the deal. Voltalia were advised on the PPA tender process by Burgess Salmon and Norton Rose Fulbright. The solar farm near the village of Spetisbury, Dorset, was granted planning permission by Dorset Council in February 2020.

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