Vital Energi appoints BCE Northern LTD 

Newcastle International Airport has appointed the approved contractor, Vital Energi, to undertake Phase 1 of the solar farm development. Phase 1 of the development will provide 3MW of power and construction will begin on the site in Summer 2022. The scheme is anticipated to be in operation early next year. BCE Northern Ltd is proud to be working with VItal Energi as sub-contractor in the initial phase of production. Work includes bulk earthworks to formation of a new 1km access road, imported fill materials, section 278 junction construction, Kerbing and drainage, reinforced concrete slabs and foundations to new substation bases, directional drilling and ductwork’s to cabling infrastructure. 

Project Overview 

The proposed scheme includes a solar farm (up to 16MW) and associated infrastructure which will be built in 4 phases, between 2022 and 2035, to support the Airport now and in the future. The site for the scheme is situated to the south of the eastern end of the Airport runway, adjacent to the Main Road, Dinnington / Brunton Lane and Coach Lane junction. 

Solar panels will be arranged across the site in a grid pattern. Battery storage units will be located on the site to capture unused energy generated during daylight hours, allowing energy to be stored and used during evening or times when there is less sunlight. 

The scheme will include areas of tree planting to screen the view of the solar farm from the surrounding roads and public rights of way. We are also proposing larger areas of woodland planting adjacent to the site as part of a separate parallel project. 

The proposed solar farm will be a time limited medium-term use of the site. At the end of its operational life the site will be decommissioned, and all equipment will be removed. 

A temporary compound and access track will be installed for construction. Following completion, the temporary access track will be removed and the existing field access from Main Road Dinnington will be used to gain entry to the site.  

Scheme Benefits 

The proposed solar farm will support the Airport’s aspiration to reduce its scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions as set out in the Net Zero 2035 strategy. The improvements will: 

  • Support the UK Government policy to achieve Net Zero by 2050
    • Contribute to the City of Newcastle’s Carbon Net Zero aspirations by 2030
    • Seek to provide 100% of the Airport’s electricity requirements through sustainable means 
    • Support the economic growth objectives of the Airport and wider region 
    • Aim to have minimal impact upon the local environment in terms of noise and visual intrusion 
    • Seek to provide ecological enhancements to the site through landscape planting and other measures