Energy storage facility planned for wind farm site

Plans for an energy storage system which would be located on the site of a South Yorkshire wind farm have been submitted to Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council.

Renewable energy firm Banks Renewables plans to invest around £700,000 installing a lithium-ion battery alongside the control building for the Hazlehead wind farm, west of Barnsley.

The new system, roughly the size of a shipping container, would be able to store some of the energy being produced by the three-turbine wind farm and also capture it from the wider National Grid before releasing it at times of high demand.

The battery technology enables a greater degree of resilience and flexibility to be introduced to the power network.

It can capture cheap electricity produced at times of low demand or when wind or solar generation is abundant and hold it until it is needed, thus helping avoid price ‘spikes’ when demand is high.

Batteries also help to limit the amount of equipment network operators need to install and maintain on the system, which are costs that would otherwise appear on energy bills.

The Hazlehead Wind Farm generates enough to meet the annual energy requirements of more than 4,500 homes. With the battery providing a peak capacity of 1,000 kilowatts and a duration of 1,500 kilowatt hours, which is enough to fully charge over 35 electric cars.

It is the first time that Banks Renewables, which is part of family-owned North East property and energy business The Banks Group, has looked to invest in co-locating energy generation and storage facilities.

If  approved, Banks will be aiming to have the new system in place and operational by the autumn.

Dunford parish councillor Allan Pestell, chairman of the Hazlehead wind farm community liaison committee, said: “I am delighted to support this application with the full backing of the members of the liaison committee – the battery housing will be lost in the vegetation and it will have a zero impact on the local environment.”

Mark Rowcroft, technical manager at The Banks Group, said: “Energy storage systems such as this bring resilience and flexibility to the power network, allowing more renewable generation onto the National Grid in line with our Net Zero 2050 ambitions and ultimately leads to reduced costs to the consumer.

“The Hazlehead wind farm already generates enough clean green electricity to meet the annual energy needs of thousands of homes, as well as creating substantial revenues for its related community benefits fund, and this project will enable us to make further energy advances from this site.

“We hope members of Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council’s planning committee will see the merits of this innovative scheme.”

Banks Renewables is an independent onshore wind power owner/operator and currently runs ten wind farms with an installed capacity of 224MW. These include three further wind farms in Yorkshire.