Solar Magazine – Utrecht: space for a 40 hectare solar park in Ockhuizen
In addition, the biodiversity in the area is increased and new nature is preserved for the future. The municipality states that it cherishes the view of the nationally protected village of Haarzuilens in all of this.
The municipality has realized a concept in which nature, recreation, sustainable energy and the characteristic cultural and historical landscape of the region come together. The initiative for this design was partly taken by a number of local residents and landowners. Local residents and stakeholders now have 4 weeks to react to the new design. The city council has not yet made a decision on the project.
In the comprehensive program of requirements for Ockhuizen, the municipality has included requirements that developments in the area must meet. The most important requirements are that the character-defining elements – such as the configuration of the ditches and the openness of the area – are preserved and that the new nature is accessible to recreational users. Old historic features, such as a pear avenue and tree-lined avenues, will also be reflected in the area and additional trees will be planted. A 9-hectare green corridor should provide space for animals such as beavers and otters.
The solar field, 35 to 40 hectares, is integrated into the landscape with the surrounding greenery. The tan area will stay in the area for about 30 years. Cycling and walking will soon be possible north and south of the solar park on a newly constructed path.
The area on the north side of Ockhuizen, up to the A2, is the most suitable place for solar panels. The solar panels can be placed there as low as possible, so that the area remains as open as possible. Grass will be planted under the solar panels and the transformer houses and batteries will be out of sight. The solar panels will also be placed so as to be as inconspicuous as possible in the landscape and a moat will be created around the solar field. Residents can share the income from the solar field. For example, by becoming a member of the yet to be created energy association “Coöperatie Zon op Ockhuizen”.
The design of Ockhuizen was developed in close cooperation with landowners, including private owners, Natuurmonumenten and the Province of Utrecht. The immediate neighbors of Ockhuizen and the inhabitants of the village of Haarzuilens and the surrounding area were also able to contribute. The municipality has collected the wishes, advice and frameworks of the inhabitants of Ockhuizen and Haarzuilens and, as far as possible, included them in the design project which is now available for inspection. In the second half of the calendar year, the plan with the requirements and wishes for the area will be sent to the city council, which will decide whether the new design of the area will continue. If this is the case, the city council will begin to modify the zoning plan and apply for a permit.
“One of Utrecht’s ambitions is to produce as much sustainable energy as possible,” says Alderman Lot van Hooijdonk. “We will also design our natural spaces to provide more space for different types of trees, plants and animals. More nature also has a cooling effect, because nature retains water. As a municipality, we make an important contribution to the fight against climate change. I am proud that we can present this plan to the municipal council. Utrecht wants to be a clean and livable city for everyone. Together with the initiators, we have succeeded in creating a beautiful combination of sun fields with nature and recreation here.
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