12th March 2024

3 minutes reading time

Blackfinch Energy’s Horsey Levels Makes History as First ‘Accelerated’ Solar Grid Connection in UK

Blackfinch Energy, part of Blackfinch Group, is announcing the official energisation of its Horsey Levels Solar Farm in Somerset, adding to the UK’s renewable energy efforts. The project, constructed by Enviromena, is historic as it is the first in the country to benefit from the National Grid’s Technical Limits acceleration program, which aims to streamline the integration of renewable energy into the national grid.

The connection, facilitated by the National Grid Electricity Distribution (NGED) following the government’s acceleration program, enables Horsey Levels solar farm to generate 27,550MWh of electricity annually, powering over 10,000 homes and significantly reduce CO2 emissions by more than 5,000 tonnes annually. It also marks a shift towards improved development and connection processes for renewable projects, setting a precedent for future initiatives.

The collaboration between Blackfinch and Enviromena, supported by land provided by the Somerset Council and assisted by NGED, highlights the effective public-private partnerships driving the UK’s energy transition. Such cooperative efforts are crucial for reaching national renewable energy and carbon reduction targets.

In line with the announcements in the Spring Budget 2024, this project supports the national effort to boost green industries and renewable energy sources. The budget includes significant investment and policy measures designed to speed up the development and integration of renewable energy projects similar to Horsey Levels across the country, reflecting the pivotal role government initiatives play in meeting the UK’s ambitious environmental and energy security objectives.

Blackfinch Group, a leading specialist investment manager, invests to achieve long term, positive, sustainable outcomes as a custodian of retail investor capital. This aligns with macro-economic trends towards demand for improved energy security through diversified clean energy sources and supports the UK’s strategy to decrease its carbon footprint.

“We’re proud to bring the Horsey Levels Solar Farm into operation, a landmark project that enhances our diverse renewable energy portfolio and furthers our commitment to sustainable investment,” said Alan Gorman, Investment Director at Blackfinch Energy. “This project showcases our ability to adapt and thrive within the UK’s evolving energy policies, allowing our investors to see how their capital can be used to contribute to the nation’s shift towards more sustainable energy sources.”

Enviromena CEO Chris Marsh said: “We are delighted to energise the first accelerated project as part of National Grid’s reforms to help bring forward the connection dates of renewable energy projects. Following the notification of the delay of this important project, our team has worked closely with the National Grid Electricity Distribution and ESO in order to find solutions to help accelerate this project and other similarly delayed projects.”

“We have been supported from the outset by the project owner, Blackfinch Energy. In addition, we have worked closely with Somerset Council to agree rights to connect the project on council-owned land.”

Steve Cross, Southwest Operations Director for National Grid Electricity Distribution, said: “This is an important milestone in the work we are doing to enable grid connections to help decarbonise the communities we serve. We are investing £500 million over the next five years to ensure electricity generation customers can connect to our network and we are working closely with industry, Ofgem and government to streamline the process and accelerate connection times for active projects. Horsey Levels is the first of many renewable projects to benefit from this concerted and co-ordinated approach and will undoubtedly make a valuable contribution to the South West’s pursuit of net zero targets.”