Alesco LTD, a firm who specialises in energy storage facilities, have submitted an application to build “Two energy storage systems with a total capacity of 49.95MW” on the perimeter of a field adjacent to the substation at Lovedean.
At the moment we are closing coal and gas fired power stations and Hinckley, our new nuclear power station, is slipping behind programme. There are real concerns about ‘Brownouts’ and schemes like the cable from France (Aquind) and storage systems like this to store cheaper off peak electricity around the country so that it is available when the power stations can not cope with rising peak demand are going to become important to our future energy consumption.
Site plan taken from the planning application
Ultimately I believe projects like this are necessary and the more electricity we can generate ourselves in the UK and store for peak use the better so the question for me is – “Is this in the best place and if so how can it be mitigated if it is built out”
Infrastructure projects including power, water, gas and telecoms are difficult to refuse at planning stages so a large part of me is reluctant to putting too much effort into challenging the location. it is next to the substation where off peak energy is fed into the system. there is also already a massive blight form the substation with noise and electrical hum. locating it away from the existing facility would create a separate noise source and more excavation.
I’m also cynical. at 50Mw the plant would have needed an “Environmental Impact Assessment” so the 49.95Mw is below this threshold. with the diversity of batteries I bet it runs at about 53Mw. and expect a strong possibility of a ‘second future phase’ once the cabling, infrastructure and inverters are there.
The main focus for me though now is on mitigation and a strong position for EHDC if permission is granted. This would be on the following:
- Making sure there was sufficient noise attenuation for the substations / inverters. this needs to be dealt with at source by installing insulation to the walls of the storage units and attenuation to any extract ductwork for cooling.
- Visual screening needs to be drawn into the design. the land the units will be installed on undulates and needs to be levelled off. the surplus soils could be used for bunding and planting to create a complete visual block.
Anyone wishing to comment has until the 6th November to get your views in to the planning team and to view the application online click on this link here. This will take you to the documents for the application, other consultee comments and how to comment yourself.
Typical battery storage unit based on a shipping container