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Energy / Energy company keen to reassure community over battery safety

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 DEVELOPER behind a proposal for a battery storage system in Lerwick has committed to providing a safety management plan.

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

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.

The batteries would be used to keep Shetland’s lights on if there is an outage on the planned HVDC subsea interconnector, which is currently being constructed, and Lerwick’s power station – which will be in standby mode – needs time to kick back into life.

Fire safety of battery storage systems has been raised as a concern by some in the community.

Lerwick Community Council was recently consulted on Statkraft’s planning application and members said they would have liked to have seen more information on fire safety.

In a letter to the community council Statkraft community liaison manager Kate Brown said the company will be providing an outline battery safety management plan for its Greener Grid Park (GGP) proposal.

“It is not a planning requirement to submit a battery safety management plan, however, we recognise this is an important issue for the community and have decided to take this extra step to provide reassurance,” she said.

“This document will outline fire safety measures that may be used at Lerwick GGP should the project get planning permission. It will also contain a hazard identification section.

“It had been our intention to have this available in March, however we have extended the scope of the report which is why it will take more time than previously anticipated.”

The letter confirmed the batteries would be lithium-ion due to their fast response times.

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“The supplier of these batteries would not be selected until after the project has received planning permission, so we cannot provide specific details on the makeup of the battery at this time,” Brown said.

A full risk assessment would also be undertaken prior to construction commencing.

Last month a representative from the other developer also in the running for the contract, Zenobe, appeared at a meeting of Lerwick Community Council.

Project development senior associate Jack Hulme said the risk of fire from a battery storage system was low.

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.

Meanwhile Statkraft recently announced it would be taking over two planned wind farm developments in Shetland.

It has taken on the 12-turbine Mossy Hill development on the outskirts of Lerwick and Beaw Field, which would have 17 turbines, in Yell. Both projects have planning consent.

Statkraft is also the developer behind the proposed 18-turbine Energy Isles wind farm in Yell, which does not yet have the planning go-ahead. 

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