Cambridgeshire waste company plans ‘urgent’ solar/storage project for EV fleet to bypass grid limits

A waste company in Cambridgeshire aims to bypass a lack of electricity network capacity that could delay a switch to electric vehicles by developing on-site solar and battery facilities. It is seeking a developer to deliver the ‘urgent’ project by June 2025.
Greater Cambridge Shared Waste Service (GCSWS), which manages waste for Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council, has made a commitment to decarbonise its fleet of refuse vehicles by 2030. But at its depot in Waterbeach the local electricity network has insufficient capacity to meet the charging requirements of the councils’ fleet. As a result, the company plans to invest £7 million in developing Waterbeach Renewable Energy Network (WREN) between the Cambridge Research Park and Waterbeach Waste Management Park.
South Cambridgeshire District Council will soon be procuring development and delivery of the integrated renewable energy and storage solution on behalf of the GCSWS, to be operational by from June 2025. It will include:
• Ground mounted PV
• Local grid infrastructure including a local grid energy centre
• Electric refuse vehicle chargers
• An energy/power management system
• Energy storage
• Mains point of connection to the UKPN electricity distribution network
The organisation is also open to innovative proposals to derive further environmental and community benefits from the project, such as potential re-use of EV batteries for energy storage.