The Binnenveld along the Dijkgraaf might soon house a ten-hectare solar park. WUR and the company LC Energy are jointly developing the plan. Local residents and nature conservationists strongly oppose this idea.
The land on the Dijkgraaf, about two kilometers north-west of the campus, where the planned 10-hectare solar park would be installed. © Leefbaarheid De Kraats en Nergena
The solar park is to be placed at the corner of the Dijkgraaf and the Langesteeg, on grounds that WUR bought over 18 months ago. The area concerned is 19 hectares of land that belong to the farm Nergena 21, located along the Langesteeg, just past the parish boundary with Ede. The purchase of the dairy farm at the time was said to be a ‘strategic acquisition’. The area borders with WUR’s experimental fields.
Instead of an agricultural experimental field, WUR will use part of the area to generate green energy. According to WUR’s spokesperson Simon Vink, WUR will thus contribute to a societal goal. The park is not needed to help make WUR’s own energy consumption sustainable, as the wind turbines on the wind farms in Lelystad jointly generate more green energy than WUR uses annually.
Instead of regular use as experimental field, WUR wants to lease out the grounds to LC Energy. This relatively young company is a collaboration between the British investor Low Carbon (LC) and Wageningen entrepreneur Martin Ruiter’s consultancy and engineering firm Qing. LC Energy has an office in Plus Ultra and is also the brain behind the plans for a seven-hectare solar park on WUR grounds on the Haarweg.
Spokesperson Vink also indicate that there might be an experimental aspect to the realisation of the solar park as well. ‘It might be an experimental field to investigate whether and how solar meadows could be combined with nature development. This research could be carried out by ESG. Discussions are held on the subject, but it is still at a very early stage. LC Energy seems to have a positive approach to this idea.’
The plans for a solar park in the Binnenveld have met with fierce opposition. The Comité Verontruste Omwonenden Zonnepark Dijkgraaf (‘Committee Worried Local Residents Solar Park Dijkgraaf’) has drawn up a petition (link contains Dutch explanation) against the placement of the solar panels. In the petition, the municipality of Ede is appealed not to cooperate on the realisation of the park. The solar panels would damage the openness and nature of the Binnenveld. The petition has been signed nearly 600 times already.