A partnership between Wolverhampton City Council and Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust has resulted in an innovative proposal to turn publicly owned brownfield land into a solar farm, which will provide energy for New Cross Hospital and reduce reliance on fossil fuels.
Wolverhampton City Council declared a climate emergency in July 2019. Similarly, Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust have committed to reducing their carbon emissions by 25% by 2025; 80% by 2032 and to reach net zero by 2040.
The Council have partnered with the Trust to develop plans to build a solar farm on an unused brownfield site which will supply 6.9MWp directly to New Cross Hospital.
Using land to reduce public sector emissions
As part of Wolverhampton City Council’s climate emergency declaration they agreed, not only to make all council activity net carbon zero by 2028, but also to work with partners across the city and region towards a net carbon zero future.One such partner is Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, who are the largest employer in the city and therefore have high emissions and difficulty in meeting reduction targets. This proposal sees a previously unused landfill site become a supply of sustainable solar energy directly to New Cross Hospital. The solar farm will be built by the Midland Energy Hub, an initiative to support the capacity of LEPs and Local Authorities to identify and deliver local energy strategies and projects. The hub is funded by the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy.
Many anchor institution-owned land assets currently fail to provide benefit to local citizens and, in this case, the land was previously providing no financial or tangible gain to the place it is situated. By building the solar farm the unused land will become productive. By directing the energy to a local hospital the anchor institutions will ensure that the people of Wolverhampton are the ones who benefit from this productivity for generations to come.