Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners, a US-based investment manager focused on renewable energy infrastructure, has started construction on Cleve Hill solar plus battery storage project in Kent, UK.

Cleve Hill is a large-scale consented renewable energy project comprising a 373MW solar facility and more than 150MW battery energy storage facility.

It has been granted development consent by the UK Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in May 2020 and is expected to be completed by the end of 2024.

Once operational, the Cleve Hill project is expected to generate adequate renewable power to address the annual power needs of more than 100,000 homes in the UK.

The project is expected to create more than 2,300 direct and indirect jobs during its lifetime and generate more than £148m in local socio-economic benefits.

It is the first such project to be approved as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project and is estimated to reduce 164,450 tonnes of carbon emissions each year, said the company.

Quinbrook co-founder and managing partner Rory Quinlan said: “High energy prices, geopolitical instability, and the UK’s ambitious Net Zero goals are bringing into focus the critical need to accelerate the building of the next generation of energy transition infrastructure in the UK.

“In our view, large-scale solar + battery storage projects are key to achieving the decarbonisation imperatives of the energy transition the world over and we are doing our best to create a blueprint for more projects to come here in the UK.

“Just as importantly, we are committed to doing this in a way that is truly impactful in supporting jobs and delivering a range of tangible benefits to the local community.”

Quinbrook said that the large-scale project will contribute to improving UK’s energy security, further decarbonise the power grid, and support the country’s journey to Net Zero.

In July last year, Quinbrook awarded a 15-year Contract for Difference (CfD) in the UK’s latest CfD allocation auction to support financing for the project.

The contract is said to be the largest for a UK solar project, awarded as part of the biggest round of the auction scheme by the UK government.

Furthermore, Cleve Hill has allotted 138 acres towards habitat management, designed in collaboration with Natural England, Kent Wildlife Trust, RSPB, and the Environment Agency.