Ambitious plans could see a Rushcliffe power station site transformed into a low-carbon power generation hub including a hotel, shops and food outlets.
Huge plans for the Ratcliffe-on-Soar site in Rushcliffe reveal the land could house a “gigafactory” to produce batteries for electric vehicles.
The huge Nottinghamshire site covers around 265 hectares, which is the equivalent of 495 football pitches.
Tesla built its first gigafactory in the Nevada desert in the US – and a West Midlands gigafactory was recently approved for land at Coventry airport.
Rushcliffe Borough Council documents indicate that up to 760,000 square meters of housing could be built with 10 hectares of solar power generation.
A “community centre” on the site would provide services to staff, including retail outlets, catering facilities and a hotel.
The proposed development “aims to transform the current coal-fired power plant into a diversified, multi-occupant, low-carbon, green energy, and advanced manufacturing hub.”
If approved, the whole site would be walkable and “multi-purpose play areas and wellness areas will transform the master plan into an attractive place to work”.
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Ratcliffe-on-Soar coal-fired power station will be decommissioned in 2024, meaning large areas of the site will soon be redeveloped.
Landowner Uniper is working with Rushcliffe Borough Council to develop a ‘shared vision’ for the redevelopment of the site.
A request for an EIA Preliminary Screening Notice has now been sent to Rushcliffe Borough Council to assess the environmental impacts of the proposals.
Council documents say the plans would make a ‘positive contribution to reducing carbon emissions across the UK and help support the local community and economy’.
There are a number of other projects underway for Ratcliffe-on-Soar – Nottinghamshire County Council last year obtained planning permission for a waste incinerator on the site, which is due to start in 2023.
And it was announced last year that the HS2 lines would also end near the East Midlands Parkway.
A “significant proportion” of the proposed low-carbon energy site is also in the East Midlands Freeport.
Further plans revealed in 2021 could see the world’s first energy fusion plant built after Ratcliffe-on-Soar was pre-selected by the government as a potential site for STEP (Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production).
A Uniper spokesperson said: “Rushcliffe Borough Council is working with Uniper to explore options for the future redevelopment of the site. Ratcliffe’s emerging vision is to become a zero-carbon technology and energy hub for the East Midlands, supporting continued economic growth and helping to achieve the region’s decarbonisation targets.
“Council recently invited local residents to comment on site proposals and on a Local Development Ordinance (LDO) which could grant planning permission for a range of modern industrial uses on the redeveloped site, including advanced manufacturing, low-carbon power generation, battery production, energy storage, logistics, and research and development.
“Rushcliffe Borough Council held a public consultation on the initial plans for the site, from November 29, 2021 to January 10, 2022. The public consultation period has now ended and comments received are being considered.
Council documents indicate that it is expected that the entire development could be delivered by the end of 2042.
The term was coined by Tesla CEO Elon Musk in 2013 for the upcoming lithium-ion battery manufacturing plant in Nevada. In common parlance, a Gigafactory has come to represent a battery production facility that is simply gigantic and brings together multiple companies and components to increase lithium-ion battery production to an unprecedented level.