Design and planning for renewable energy projects

24 Jan 2012
Posted by Croft Goode

Design and planning for renewable energy projects

Croft Goode Architects has recently delivered design, planning and consultation services for a number of renewable energy projects throughout the UK.

The practice has worked with Farmgen Ltd to assist with planning for three anaerobic digester plants at farms in Lancashire, Cumbria and the Midlands.

We have also been involved in site design and planning for Biogen Power on four Energy from Waste (EfW) plants in Irvine, Scotland; Newport and Barry, Wales; and Heysham, Lancashire.

Meanwhile, we have also drawn up plans for the proposed Coseley Park hydroelectricity plant in the Midlands.

As renewable energy architects, Croft Goode has demonstrated expertise in architectural, design and planning issues across three different types of renewable energy:

Anaerobic Digestion

Anaerobic digestion is a series of processes in which microorganisms break down biodegradable material in the absence of oxygen and is widely used to treat wastewater sludge and organic wastes.

As part of an integrated waste management system, anaerobic digestion reduces the emission of landfill gas into the atmosphere. The process produces a methane and carbon dioxide rich biogas suitable for energy production helping to replace use of fossil fuels. The nutrient-rich solids left after digestion can be used as fertiliser.

Farmgen’s Carr Farm anaerobic digestion plant can generate enough continuous power for more than 1,000 homes and provides a significant boost to the rural economy.

Energy Recovery Facilities

Energy Recovery Facility is a newer term to describe the process of Energy from Waste (EfW) as it is more closely aligned with Advanced Conversion Technologies (ACT’s) or Advanced Thermal Treatment (ATT), two terminologies used to differentiate new clean technology from conventional incineration.

ERFs provide for the thermal treatment of waste under controlled conditions in which energy is produced. This energy can either be converted to electricity to boost the National Grid and/or, at times, to provide heat in the form of hot water or steam for use by nearby developments.

A typical Biogen Power ENERGOS gasification plant will treat around 120,000 tonnes of waste per year and will provide an electricity generation capacity to meet the domestic electricity needs of around 15,000 homes.


The Coseley Park hydroelectricity scheme forms part of a masterplan for a landmark regeneration project known as Coseley Eco Park comprising green homes, jobs, power and retail.

The plant is made up of a series of cylindrical shaped tower structures (clad with a metal frame) containing a series of vertical steel pipes enclosing a turbine and a 40 tonne water tank at their base, which overall is over 12 metres in height and two metres in diameter. The process is based on a drawing up water through the outer circle of pipes as a powerful mechanism into the central tube of the plant that acts as a hydroelectric generator.

Our expertise

Croft Goode can help energy companies and other developers to deliver renewable energy projects with expertise in the following areas:

– Site analysis and planning policy for the chosen site and infrastructure required.

– Management and coordination of other consultants such as building surveyors, topographical surveyors, civil engineers and plant engineers.

– Meetings with planning officers and relevant disciplines within the local authority and Environment Agency where necessary.

– Preparation of drawings for site layout, plans and elevations of the plant, design and access statements and submission of planning application(s).

– Use of 3D modelling software to prepare 3D perspectives and realistic photomontages, helping to visualise the plant in the micro and macro context of the site.

– Preparation of detailed tender documentation that allows the client to compare and contrast prices for construction from multiple contractors.

– Coordination of all drawing information to achieve the necessary regulatory approvals.

If you would like to find out more about how Croft Goode Architects can assist with design and planning services for your renewable energy project, call us on 01772 686030.