Energy giant announces support for £200m energy park scheme

A leading energy supplier has become the latest company to back the proposed £200m Yorkshire Energy Park.

E.ON joins a number of international companies who have already announced their support for the plans, including Almax, L&G Investment Management, SSE Utilities, Vodafone and local education provider Hull College.

The scheme, which is earmarked for a former aerodrome site within the boundary of South Preston village in the East Riding of Yorkshire, could create more than 1,000 jobs and generate a multi-million pound investment boost for the Yorkshire and Humber economy.

Jeff Parr May, Project Director at E.ON, said the company’s commitment to the proposed scheme aligns with its European ambitions regarding energy solutions.

He said: “The opportunity presented by Yorkshire Energy Park clearly fits with E.ON’s ambitions across Europe to provide smarter, low carbon energy solutions at scale and we are exploring opportunities with Yorkshire Energy Park’s development team that would see a more sustainable, flexible and cost-effective energy solution for the whole site.”

Yorkshire-based developer Sewell and Eco Parks Developments Ltd have partnered with London-based Chiltern, a national renewable energy, infrastructure and technology project facilitator, to deliver the proposed scheme.

The Yorkshire Energy Park is set to attract significant inward investment and employment, bringing together low carbon energy generation and storage, education and training, and energy intensive industries such as information technology and food processing, on one site, providing a business environment unique in the UK.

As an outline planning application was submitted for the Yorkshire Energy Park earlier this month (May), community information events have been held to share the final proposals with the public, with hundreds of people turning out to look at the plans.

E.ON’s backing of the Yorkshire Energy Park shows further commitment to the region.

The company owns and operates the Humber Gateway offshore wind farm which became fully operational in 2015, with 73 turbines located 8km off the Holderness coast generating enough electricity for around 170,000 homes – equivalent to around one and a half times the size of Hull.

E.ON’s Operations and Maintenance (O&M) base in Grimsby was officially opened after a £4m transformation of a neglected site. The project involved 102 local sub-contractors throughout the construction of the building, which is home to the wind farm’s control room, as well as offices, stores and a workshop.

In April 2015, E.ON launched the Community Support Fund, a ring-fenced pot of money set aside to support smaller, sustainable projects in the parishes bordering the wind farm between Easington and Preston. Local community groups, voluntary organisations or registered charities will be able to apply for funding.

The fund has been running for two years and 37 local community groups, voluntary organisations and registered charities have benefited from it, including supporting an apprenticeship project in partnership with CATCH in North Lincolnshire and a visitor centre for the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, which will help protect Spurn’s wildlife and manage the large number of visitors.

Located in the heart of the UK’s Energy Estuary, the strategic Yorkshire Energy Park site has the potential to generate major efficiencies and savings for occupiers, providing competitively-priced, resilient energy.

The site is currently owned by Hull City Council and the developers have been working in partnership with the local authority to ensure the project optimises economic development opportunities for the area while also recognising the ecological importance of the eastern part of the site.

As part of the investment, local sports and community facilities will also benefit from relocation on the site to new and improved accommodation.

In addition, the green buffer zone has been extended by almost 50% and, over the life of the development, the area is protected so it can’t be built on, insteads reserved for birds and wildlife.

Traffic management and flood mitigation have also been taken into account under the plans.

Easily accessible from the M62, by train, close to the Port of Hull and Humberside International Airport, the site will bring together businesses from across the globe to create and deliver innovation alongside education and research.

Chris Turner, Chairman of the Yorkshire Energy Park Development Company and Chiltern Group, said: “We have worked on major projects with E.ON Germany and E.ON UK for several years and regard them as a global leader in the renewable energy generation and storage sector.

“Their participation in the project will deliver low carbon energy and significant cost savings to occupiers of the park.”

Two rounds of consultation sessions have already been held in Preston, Hedon, Paull and Thorngumbald as plans for the Yorkshire Energy Park develop.

Following introductory consultation events held in June last year, a further five drop-in sessions took place in October to share the latest proposals and answer any questions about the proposed development.

The application has been developed with support from a multi-disciplinary team led by GVA.

Subject to a successful planning application, work on the Yorkshire Energy Park could begin in early 2018.