Energy / Residents’ concerns remain over battery project – but developer confident its plans are safe

The two grid park elements are seen in this visualisation marked with blue circles. In the middle would be SSE's grid supply point infrastructure. Image: Statkraft

A NUMBER of concerns remain from people in Lerwick about the prospect of a large battery storage system being installed in the town, a meeting has heard.

However, developer Statkraft said in a statement that it is confident its proposal is safe and that a battery safety management plan is close to being finalised.

A planning application for Statkraft’s Greener Grid Park proposal went in front of Lerwick Community Council on Monday evening for consultation.

The development, which would be located behind the Ocean Kinetics building at the north end of Lerwick, would feature battery modules with a capacity of up to 50MW, and two synchronous compensators.

A key aim of the proposal is to ensure continuity of electricity supply once Shetland is connected to the national grid by the HVDC transmission link, by offering an interim solution if Lerwick Power Station – which will be in standby mode – is needed to kick into action.


But a number of Lerwick community councillors said constituents had expressed worry over the safety of large batteries, such as their alleged fire risk.

Chairman Jim Anderson said he could not find any fire safety details in the planning application.

Community councillor Damien Ristori also said he had been asked to pass on concerns from local organisation COPE Ltd, which has premises nearby.

But while clarification is to be sought by the community council, there was also a call not to get “carried away” with the concerns, as an oil depot has been operational at North Ness for some time, for example.

In a media statement Statkraft principal planning manager Wai-kit Cheung reiterated that the company held pre-application consultation events with the community and elected representatives.

He added that a safety management plan will be submitted to Shetland Islands Council shortly.

“We are confident our plans are safe and will provide the necessary standby solution and security of electricity supply for Shetland in the future, but it was clear there was a desire from local people for more information and reassurance on some aspects of the batteries to be being used,” Cheung said.

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“That is why, although it is not a requirement, in our application submission to Shetland Islands Council, we committed to providing a detailed Outline Battery Safety Management Plan (OBSMP) so it can be considered as part of the determination process.

“That document is being finalised and we hope to submit it to Shetland Islands Council next week.

“That document will, of course, be public and we would be happy to discuss any further specific matters with the local community and answer any questions they might have.”

Lerwick community councillors meanwhile also expressed support for plans to turn the former Havly cafe premises, which has been empty for a number of years, into flats.

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