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How much is 98 hectares of arable land?

The Enso Energy Solar Power Plant is proposed to be built on 98 hectares of arable land. But what is 98 hectares?

Why say 98 hectares?

A common tactic used by developers is to make the numbers as low as possible, and the size as uncomprehensible as possible. This is to make the scale of it difficult to grasp so people think it’s smaller than it actually is. So let’s bring a little bit of clarity to what 98 hectares is really…

98 hectares is the same as…

98 hectares is the same as 242 acres, or 979,339 square metres.

Ipswich Town’s football pitch at Portman Road is 102m x 75m. So 98 hectares is also the same as 128 of Ipswich Town’s football pitches.

A doubles tennis court (the outer white lines) is 23.77 metres x 10.97 metres. So 98ha is also the same 3753 Wimbledon Doubles Tennis Courts.

But isn’t it arable land, not a sports facility?

If the Enso Energy Solar Power Plant gets built we aren’t losing football pitches and tennis courts. We are losing food producing agricultural land (and a lot of other things but that’s for a different time). Specifically arable crops of wheat and barley.

According to 2019 UK Government Statistics, 1ha of arable land produces 8.9 tonnes of wheat. 98ha = 882 tonnes of wheat. Assuming it is clean grain, this is 882,000 1kg bags of wholemeal flour PER YEAR! Over 42 years (40 years of operation plus a season either side for construction and decommissioning), this is 37,044,000 bags of wholemeal flour.

According to 2019 UK Government Statistics, 1ha of arable land produces 6.9 tonnes of barley. 98ha = 676 tonnes of barley. 676 tonnes of barley produces 520 tonnes of malt. 520 tonnes of malt produces 28,080 barrels of beer. 28,080 barrels of beer produces 4,595,240 litres of beer or 8,087,560 pints of beer PER YEAR! Over 42 years, this is 339,677,520 pints of beer.

In 2019 the UK Government figures showed that the UK was only 61% self-sufficient, but that we produced 42% more electricity than we used during peak demand. Surely reducing the food producing land and replacing it with even more electricity is absurd? And all at a time when the world is suffering the effects of a global pandemic and the transition phase of Brexit is almost over.

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4 thoughts on “How much is 98 hectares of arable land?”

  1. Pingback: The Food vs Electricity Imbalance – CARE Suffolk

  2. I am very concerned about the size and scale of this solar farm proposal.
    there will be significant loss of greenfield arable land.
    I realise that we need energy to power all of the houses being built in this area but surely the homes could have been built with solar panels as part of the infrastructure.
    Also, a number of giant warehouses have been built in the area, the roof space on these developments could have been used to accommodate solar panels to generate energy not only for the warehouses but surplus used for public housing.

    1. Thank you for your comment. You are very right about the warehouses and new houses – not a panel in sight!

      And Suffolk is currently hugely overproducing electricity for its needs. The offshore windfarms and Sizewell B will produce enough for over 6 million homes. More than Suffolk, Essex, and Cambridgeshire combined. Sizewell C would double that, and the National Grid do not currently have the capacity to distribute that volume out of the county.

  3. Pingback: Solar Power Plant FAQs – CARE Suffolk

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