Solar panel farms in Ossett and South Kirkby may not be ready by 2023, Wakefield Council report says
Two huge solar energy parks designed to slash Wakefield's carbon footprint may not be ready by 2023 as originally planned.
Wakefield Council revealed in 2019 it was looking to create a pair of solar panel farms in Ossett and South Kirkby, which will help to generate power for homes and businesses across the district.
It's the most significant part of the organisation's plan to be carbon neutral within the next decade and the council had hoped to have them running by the end of 2023, when its current contract with electricity provider Npower expires.
However, the project has been hit by Covid-related delays. The exact locations earmarked for the parks have still yet to be revealed and a planned public consultation on the plans last summer did not materialise.
A report going before the council's climate change scrutiny committee next week said: "As around 70 per cent of the council’s carbon emissions come from electricity use, the energy parks will have a significant impact on the council’s carbon footprint, making the project crucial to the achievement of the ambitious carbon neutral target.
"It is therefore vitally important to ensure that this project remains on target."
However, the report said that the council's climate change action plan, which was approved last September, "identifies that the council’s current electricity contract runs until 2023 and that the energy parks may not be ready by this time."
The scheme is expected to create a number of jobs and wipe out all of the council's carbon emissions within 18 months of the parks being up and running.
The local authority also says the farms are likely to generate surplus energy which could be sold off.
The council's plans are not linked to proposals put forward last year by energy firm Banks Renewables, to create a solar farm on land between Kippax and Allerton Bywater.
Local Democracy Reporting Service