Coal mines are the last thing that come to mind when thinking about renewable energy, but a new partnership between UK Coal and Peel Group, a UK power company, plans to turn more than a dozen former coal mine sites into renewable power plants, putting up wind turbines to generate up to 133 megawatts (MW) of power (hat tip to the Guardian).
In the deal, the companies are looking at 14 former coal mining sites for the construction of 54 wind turbines. UK Coal said the land under consideration has little value for alternative commercial use, and Steven Underwood, director of Peel Energy, said in a statement that the land actually offers “some of the UK’s best potential wind farm locations.”
Under the partnership, Peel Energy will cover the costs of assessing the sites and pursuing planning permission, with UK Coal getting an option to buy a 50 percent equity stake in the projects.
Peel, which holds a 28 percent stake in UK Coal, already has experience in onshore wind farm development in the UK through its Peel Energy division, including what it says is England’s largest onshore site, the Scout Moor in Lancashire with 26 2.5 MW turbines. Peel Energy is also working on projects in biomass power generation, energy from waste, carbon capture and storage, and tidal power.
UK Coal also has its own renewable energy development projects in the works with its Harworth Power subsidiary, which is looking at building multiple wind farms on former coal mine sites, with a total installed capacity of 80 MW. Harworth Power’s main business is in cutting greenhouse gas emissions from coal mines through the conversion of mine gas into heat and power.
UK Coal announced another deal in October to revamp an old coal mine site, with the government clearing the company’s plans to redevelop a 300-acre site in West Yorkshire with 917 new homes and a business and commercial park. But that project could hit a few bumps due to the global credit crunch. The company said in a statement that there could be delays to the start date for the housing development due to “the continued fragile state of the housing market.”