Energy / Fire risk of battery storage system would be low, developer says

Lerwick power station is due to cease full operations in 2025.

THE DEVELOPER behind one of two projects for a battery energy storage system in Lerwick says the risk of fire is low.

A representative of energy company Zenobe discussed its plans at a meeting of Lerwick Community Council on Monday night.

It followed a consultation event in Lerwick late last month.

Project development senior associate Jack Hulme told community councillors that fire safety was the “key takeaway” from that public session.

Zenobe, and Norwegian energy giant Statkraft, are both in the running for an SSEN contract to install a battery energy storage system in Lerwick.

Zenobe is proposing a 70MW development and Statkraft’s plans are for 50MW.

The storage system would be located behind the Ocean Kinetics building near the Lerwick Power Station, where a new energy grid supply point is being constructed.

A key reason for a system like this is to use batteries to keep Shetland’s lights on if there is an outage on the planned HVDC subsea interconnector and Lerwick’s power station – which will be in standby mode – needs time to kick back into life.


Following a question from the community council Hulme acknowledged that battery storage systems in other parts of the world have seen fires.

But he said he felt the risk of combustion was low.

Hulme said batteries that do set on fire “tend to correlate with being in places that are hotter climates”.

He said if Zenobe was successful in landing the contract, there would be “careful monitoring”, spacing between batteries and also internal fire suppression systems.

The meeting was also told that the high voltage air conditioner fans could run at 30 or 40 per cent strength due to the colder Shetland climate, further reducing the risk.

Unlike Statkraft, Zenobe has not yet submitted a full planning application, but it will include a management plan which will feature fire risk, for example.

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Hulme also said it would be a “win-win” if Zenobe used local workers should it win the contract.

He said the company would look to run some form of tender process that will give priority to local people and businesses.

Zenobe would also look to introduce a community benefit scheme similar to that proposed by Statkraft, which could be worth around £20,000 a year.

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