The DCO Application

The Cleve Hill Solar Park project application was submitted to the Planning Inspectorate on 16th November 2018. There’s a huge amount of information, so here’s a guide to navigating it all.

The developer’s website has basic information under a page called DCO Application.


This page provides links (the dark grey lozenge shaped things) to the actual files which are all stored on Google Drive. The link at the top takes you to the main folder – this contains seven sections, and those are what the other seven links go to.

Downloading all of this takes time (especially if you’re on a rural internet connection!). And because there are some very large files, if you try to download it all in one batch Google Drive will deliver it to you in ZIP files. If you find the whole thing doesn’t want to download, try downloading each section separately. Watch out for section 6 – it’s huge!

You don’t have to download everything, as you can click through the various Google Drive links and read things on the screen. The links below provide this route.

A good place to start is in “1. Application Forms”. This contains five files and two of these provide application guidance:

Things to note

Export and import

The first interesting thing we found is outlined in the 1.2 Application Form file. This is a copy of the information that the developers entered into The Planning Inspectorate’s website as part of their submission.

Question 22 ‘Additional information for specific types of infrastructure’ asks for details on certain types of development. The connection to the National Grid is highlighted with both export and import being mentioned:

The electricity generated by the Development will be exported via an underground high voltage 400 kV cable system between the Development substation and the NGET substation located within the existing Cleve Hill Substation at NGR TR 04911 63997.

The 400 kV cable system will allow electricity to be exported and imported from the Development to facilitate the charging of the energy storage facility. The cable system is expected to comprise a single 400 kV circuit with 3 conducting cores placed in a single trench. Either ducting would be utilised or the cables would be directly buried.

What does this mean?

Why is Cleve Hill applying for the facility to import energy? Their proposal is to be a low-carbon energy generator – as their website says: to “generate renewable power through photovoltaic panels, providing clean power to UK homes”. How will importing energy from the National Grid into their battery achieve this?

Back in June we raised concerns about the battery element of this scheme. Details available then were scarce, but the application confirms that the energy storage facility would be used for import and export. In Australia a similar battery set up is reported as a potential money spinner, making $1 million (Australian Dollars) profit in two days.

We’ll add more details to this page in the future.