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Energy / Another objection to battery storage project

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

A SECOND objection has been lodged against a proposed battery energy storage system in Lerwick.

The latest is from campaign group Sustainable Shetland, which raises concern about fire risk, costs and proximity to housing.

It comes after Lerwick Community Council objected primarily on fire risk grounds.

Zenobe’s 70MW battery storage system would be used to keep the lights on in Shetland if the forthcoming subsea transmission link between the isles and the Scottish mainland had an outage.

Lerwick Power Station would need time to move out of standby mode, and the battery system would help to avoid a blackout in the isles.

The development is proposed for land opposite Lerwick Power Station, behind the Ocean Kinetics building.

A tendering process has been ongoing from SSEN for the “standby solution”, with Statkraft initially in the running alongside Zenobe before pulling out.

In its objection, Sustainable Shetland also questioned the project’s value for money.

“It is claimed that Lerwick Power Station could be brought into action within an hour and so failure of the inter-connector cable should not lead to a long term power cut,” chairman Frank Hay said.

“The risks and costs associated with the construction of a battery system like this must be hard to justify for such a short time provision of power.”

The objections were submitted to the Scottish Government’s Energy Consents Unit, which will have the final say on the project.

Zenobe co-founder and director James Basden described the objection from Lerwick Community Council as a “setback”.

“However, we will continue to pursue an outcome that will provide safe, clean and reliable energy to the people of Lerwick and the wider Shetland community,” he said.

“We are partnering with industry leaders on this project, with proven and reliable technology that has undergone extensive safety testing relating to potential fire risks.

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“The batteries on-site would be Lithium Ion Phosphate batteries which have a higher level of safety than alternative batteries used on the market.

“To protect against any potential fire risks, we would of course have a highly sophisticated fire system in place to detect and help prevent any signs of fire, and we will be working with the local fire and rescue service if the project is consented.”

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