Plan to install more than 100 batteries on green belt land in Yorkshire is approved
Jun 17, 2023
Members of a planning committee were told that each of the 106 batteries on the energy facility at Harrop Lane, Wilsden, would be 3.3 metres high and 2.4 metres wide, and would have to be individually delivered by HGV to the site.
An application to create an energy storage facility next to the existing Bradford West substation was approved by Bradford Council’s regulatory and appeals committee on April 27.
24 Power Limited submitted the plans last year. At the meeting members were told the facility would be used to store any excess energy created by renewable sources such as wind or solar. This energy would then be released into the national grid at a time of energy shortages.
The development would also see a number of structures built on the site, a four metre tall earth bund to partially screen the development, and a security fence and bollards around the batteries. After 50 years the site would be restored back to agricultural land. A smaller scale battery farm is being constructed on a neighbouring site after plans for that site were approved by Bradford Council several years ago.
Applicant Dean Staverley said the recent energy crisis, partly caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, had highlighted the need for more storage facilities in the UK.
As well as disrupting energy imports from Ukraine, the invasion also led to Russia suspending many of its energy imports, leading to a shortage of energy in many countries. This in part led to spiralling energy bills.
Mr Staverley said the past year had shown the country needed to think differently about how it get and stores its energy. He told members: “The issue of energy security wasn’t taken seriously. The consequence of that on the British energy infrastructure has been hard to miss – we have all suffered because of it.
“It has taken this for these problems with energy in the UK for us to finally wake up. People are tired of unaffordable energy bills. The current situation has allowed us to get into the position where events out of our control can create economic chaos. The rest of the world is moving faster than the UK. We’re at risk of being left behind. We can’t let this happen again.”
The facility would allow the National Grid to store up to 100 megawatts of energy, and the applicants say it would prevent between 4,320 to 6,740 tonnes of Carbon Dioxide equivalent being released into the atmosphere per annum.
When asked how many HGV trips it would take to bring all the batteries to the site, Mr Staverley said each unit would require its own HGV. This would mean there would need to be 108 trips to the site during construction.
Coun Paul Sullivan raised concerns about these HGV trips, which he feared would pass through the centre of Wilsden. Mr Staverley said the construction of the neighbouring site had not raised any major concerns.
Highways officers told Coun Sullivan that there was little control the council would have over vehicles driving on a public highway. He was also reminded that any traffic would only be during construction of the site.
Coun Russell Brownsaid: “I’d rather see this on a brownfield site, but we are where we are.”
He questioned what would happen if any of the batteries caught fire. He was assured there were security measures in place that would disconnect any battery that developed a fault. Members were told that this site was chosen due to its proximity with the Bradford West sub station.
Although developing Green Belt land was usually frowned upon, the benefits of the energy storage facility would prove the “exceptional circumstances” needed to allow the plans – officers told members.
Coun Beverley Mullaneysaid: “We’re lagging behind on this. I think this is a great development.”
Members voted to approve the plans, although the Secretary of State will have final say on the plans due to it being a green belt development.