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Energy / Battery storage system given go-ahead by government

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

A BATTERY energy storage system in Lerwick which drew an objection from the town’s community council over fire risk fears has been given planning consent from the Scottish Government.

A decision letter says that matters such as fire precautions and health and safety are “not material to the application” as they are covered by other legislation and are regulated.

The 70MW system, proposed by Zenobe for use by SSEN, would “keep the lights on” in Shetland if there was an outage on the forthcoming new transmission network, which includes the subsea cable to the Scottish mainland.

It would be used to supply Shetland whilst the diesel-fired Lerwick Power Station comes out of standby mode. It could take up to an hour for the power station to be back up and running.

SSEN recently submitted an application to energy regulator Ofgem for final approval of the standby service solution.

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

Lerwick Community Council objected primarily on fire risk grounds, whilst campaign groups Sustainable Shetland and Save Shetland also wrote letters of objections.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service offered no objections or comment.

Shetland Islands Council also offered no objections, but some elected members were unsatisfied about answers they received from the developer about gases and fire.

Regarding representations on fire safety, the decision notice said: “Scottish ministers recognise the importance of fire safety and note that the company will be required to comply with various laws and regulations regarding fire safety.

“Fire precautions and matters relating to health and safety are covered by other legislation, are regulated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), and such considerations are not material to the application.”

In conclusion, Scottish ministers said the system would “support the resilience of the electricity network”, would provide for “greater and more efficient use of renewable energy generation in the electricity system” and also enable Lerwick Power Station to go into standby mode.

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The 72.8MW power station, which was built in 1953 and currently provides around 50 per cent of Shetland’s electricity, is set to go into standby mode in November 2025.

The subsea transmission link which will run to Caithness and allow the Viking Energy wind farm to export power, as well as enable electricity to be taken into Shetland, is set to go live later this year.

However, a new grid supply point in Lerwick which will connect Shetland’s network to this set-up is only due to be ready in November 2025.

The power station at Sullom Voe Terminal (SVT) is also set to be retired in 2025, with the facility due to be connected to the grid.

Terminal operator EnQuest wrote to the Scottish Government in favour of the battery storage system, saying that without the development SVT and oil and gas assets which export into the facility would shut down during any power outages.

Zenobe’s application had to be considered by the government’s Energy Consents Unit because the capacity is above 50MW.

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