New battery storage facility plans 'unanimously' approved

Developers say energy storage will 'ultimately assist with more affordable energy bills'.

New battery storage facility plans ‘unanimously’ approved in Clackmannanshire LDRS

Clackmannanshire planning committee councillors unanimously approved plans from Apatura Energy, a York based renewable energy developer, to build an energy storage system with security fencing, CCTV, landscaping and a new access road on land at Bankhead Farm.

The site, which falls just south of the ancient Twentyfive Acre Wood off the B9140, was chosen because of its proximity to the Devonside electrical substation, which would be connected to the facility via an underground cable.

According to Apatura Energy, renewable energy sources such as solar and wind provide “intermittent supplies of energy” because they rely on factors such as wind and weather.

Energy storage facilities store the excess energy that is produced during high winds or sunny days and then export that stored energy back to the grid when generation is low.

In essence, battery storage allows renewable energy to become a more prominent and reliable source of power.

Developers say energy storage will also “ultimately assist with more affordable energy bills”.

“Energy storage is a fundamental form of support infrastructure when it comes to decarbonising the national grid,” a planning statement explained.

“Energy storage provides a vital ‘balancing role’, helping to ensure that the grid remains stable at times of stress and enabling the rollout of zero carbon energy. This will facilitate meeting the national and regional goals of net-zero emissions.”

Councillors didn’t object to the battery storage facility in principle, but concerns were raised about the layout of the facility and fire safety plans.

However, planning officers assured the committee that “all developments are absolutely required to comply with fire and safety standards.”

“The safeguards around safety are there. The authorities that deal with safety are required to be involved in the final sign off on layout and design,” officers explained.

Other councillors argued that the local community should see some investment and benefit on the back of these proposals.

Councillor Donald Balsillie (SNP for Clackmannanshire North) originally proposed a planning condition that would have forced developers to invest 1% of the development value back into Fishcross and the local area.

“We have applied this to industrial developments in the past,” he said.

Councillor Jane McTaggart (SNP for Clackmannanshire Central) added: “I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask people who are coming in to disrupt communities that they should expect to provide a bit of community benefit for that.”

She continued: “Communities are the ones having to put up with these things so why shouldn’t a bit of community benefit come back to offset that?”

However, Cllr Balsillie ultimately agreed to drop the planning condition. Instead he asked planning officers to start a conversation with Apatura Energy about community benefits.

He made the decision because he was wary of opening the door to a planning appeal that could go all the way to Scottish Ministers.

In the end, Clackmannanshire planning councillors all agreed that the battery storage farm should be allowed to move forward.

The plans will still need to be rubber stamped by Scottish Fire and Rescue to make sure they comply with safety regulations, but in general Apatura Energy has permission to build sometime within the next five years.

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code
Posted in