Welcome to the information page for our proposed 100MW Cellarhead battery energy storage project.
It includes details about our current plans for the site, and ways to share your feedback.
Our planning application is available here on the Staffordshire Moorlands District Council planning portal, reference number SMD/2022/0574.
Connecting to the available grid capacity, it can provide cost effective, flexible energy during peak electricity periods or times of system stress. Batteries also provide frequency services that help stabilise the grid network. As demand for clean electricity grows, battery storage projects like this one are vital in providing flexibility to the grid.
The location of the project is shown below or can be viewed on what3words’ interactive map here ///rotate.invent.went
Conrad Energy have been working on plans for a battery site which demonstrates significant Biodiversity Net Gains at Cellarhead and and have taken into account community and council concerns regarding previously submitted applications in the local area. With our planning application submitted in October 2022, we have written to local residents to advise them of our proposal and are engaging with the local community. We have included site specific FAQs below, as well as general FAQs about battery sites, to help answer any questions you might have.
We are always keen to work with communities local to our sites and have included details of how to contact us below. We will continue to update this webpage throughout the planning process to keep you informed.
Project key facts
- The 100MW of storage of the site can meet the average electricity needs of around 230,000 homes for 2 hours (assuming 3800kwh/yr average usage per household). We have adopted a sensitive approach to the layout incorporating mitigation measures as an integral part of the development and therefore the proposals would reinforce local character and would consequently not result in any unacceptable adverse impacts.
- The project would consist of containerised battery storage units that are able to store power and deliver energy.
- There is a viable grid connection in close proximity to the site with space to connect new electricity storage. The project will connect into the Cellarhead Grid Supply Point via underground 132kV cabling.
- The site compound will occupy an area of 1.7 acres, subject to detailed design. Further to this an additional heathland planting area of 2.9 acres will be delivered for Biodiversity Net Gain.
- There is good access to site off Armshead Road, with a new permeable gravel access track proposed through the farmstead to the site compound. The vast majority of the vehicles will be 20ft rigid lorries and the number of HGV movements will be low during the build period. Once operational, the site is operated remotely and is expected the site to have a low maintenance profile.
- With suitable and sensitive design, this project can have a low impact on the local area in ecological terms. With a Biodiversity Management Plan (BMP) the site will be significantly enhanced for local ecology. In this regard, the proposed development would result in a BNG of circa 2.78 habitat units (15.53%) and a net gain of circa 9.11 hedgerow units (218.67%). The proposed development far exceeds the policy expectation for BNG which, alongside the sustainability credentials of the development proposals, is a key public benefit.
- The development proposals incorporate a wide range of landscape mitigation and enhancement measures. This is reflected by the redline boundary of the site to include not only the access and area proposed for BESS kit/equipment but adjacent greenfield land to encapsulate works amounting to landscape and biodiversity enhancements which include the planting and reinstatement of hedgerows as per the BNG referenced above.
- When considering the Green Belt balance, the proposed development constitutes Very Special Circumstances and the impacts can be made acceptable such that the proposal as a whole is acceptable in local and national planning policy terms with the inclusion of the proposed mitigation and enhancement measures.
- The development is fully reversible, with an operational period of circa 35 years. The area would be fully restored to its existing condition when operations at the site are ended.
Proposed technical plan
Conrad Energy have considered community and council feedback on recent similar planning applications. As such significant consideration has been given into the location and community impact of our scheme through the following measures:
- Visual impact – incorporation of reasonable distance from the substation, to avoid collective visual impact with the development and substation together. Visual screening incorporated through habitat and hedgerow restoration and enhancement.
- Community impact – proximity from sensitive residential and ecological receptors have been considered with the scheme having appropriate physical separation distances from both.
- Ecological enhancement – active enrichment of the surrounding hedgerows and inclusion of heathland planting to deliver a 15% Biodiversity Net Gain.
- Scale of scheme – consideration of setting has factored into site design and ultimately size of the development.
To develop a BESS, a connection into the grid network is required. For a BESS connecting at extra high voltage, this requires a connection into one of the largest types of substation known as GSP’s (Grid Supply Points) where the national (Transmission) grid network steps down to the local (distribution) network. As more generation and demand is placed upon the Distribution and Transmission networks, substations across the UK maximise their capacity to connect any further generation or demand on their existing infrastructure. Cellarhead substation, is one of few substations with available capacity for a scheme which can facilitate more renewable generation delivered to end consumers. It’s important projects such as this are developed at a number of substations to provide additional security of supply and be able to store excess renewable generation.
Site identification for any BESS scheme principally is dictated by availability of a grid connection and proximity to the grid point of connection. Land must also be commercially available, practical to build and access, distanced from sensitive receptors and avoiding any planning restrictions where possible. In the case of the Cellarhead proposals, this site has been chosen with all considerations in mind and balancing the proximity to the grid connection with minimising any impact on communities, mitigated through appropriate measures. Development outside of the Green Belt is not possible in this instance due to the proximity to the point of connection and as a result we have demonstrated very special circumstances for the selection of the site.
Through detailed ecological assessment we are shown to have negligible impact. We are located outside of the Impact Risk Zone however as part of our consent we will submit a Construction Environmental Management Plan (CEMP) that details standard environmental management measures.
The development will utilise a wide range of mitigation and enhancement measures to actively improve and benefit the surrounding landscape including restoration of former field boundaries, which have been lost over time. The proposals include, additional tree and hedgerow enhancement and replacement and sections of new woodland planting. This will significantly reduce the visual impact of the site from all points of view. A full landscape and visual impact assessment has been included with the submission of the application.
The development has carefully considered impact on the ecology and existing arboriculture, avoiding any harm to existing high value vegetation. Small sections of hedgerow will be removed for access to the site. However, through new heathland planting and hedgerow enhancement we will be providing an enhancement to the existing landscape demonstrated through an increase in Biodiversity Net Gain score of 2.78 habitat units (15.53%) and 6.25 hedgerow units (218.67%). A detailed phase 1 ecology report has been included with the application which provides further details on the existing site and how we are proposing to enhance.
What happens next?
It’s important to us that the local community are informed of our current proposals for the site and can give us their feedback.
We will be holding a public consultation event. At this event you can talk to the project team, see our proposals in more detail, and give us your feedback.
Over the past year, we’ve seen unprecedented increases in fossil fuel prices – with spiralling costs passed onto consumers already hard hit by the rising cost of living. European gas prices soared by more than 200 per cent. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has piled even more pressure and the global situation has greatly exposed the UK and other European countries’ vulnerability with reliance on foreign imports of coal, oil and gas.
For a clean, affordable and secure energy future the UK needs more renewables at home, and more storage – and it needs them quickly.
Human made climate change is the greatest threat facing the planet and its impacts are already being felt. The world is now warming faster than at any point in recorded history. From extreme weather events such as droughts and wildfires, record breaking rainfall and flooding, to the warming oceans, climate change is having an impact on our way of life across the world and closer to home too.
In order to tackle carbon emissions, we need to transition to a low carbon and clean energy system. The UK’s climate change ambitions are amongst the highest in Europe and require us as a nation to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The British Energy Security Strategy (April 2022) set a target that ‘By 2030, 95 per cent of British electricity could be low-carbon; and by 2035, we will have decarbonised our electricity system’. More renewable energy generation and battery storage is needed to meet these targets.
Battery energy storage is critical to achieving net zero in the UK and battery projects are vital in providing flexibility and services to the grid. For us all to benefit from clean energy we must be able to store and then distribute it during times of peak demand. Renewables are the cheapest new energy generating technology, as well as being quick to deploy. But if the rapid transition to renewable energy is going to be achieved, battery storage is key.
As more renewables generate our power, we need greater flexibility in the grid. The wind doesn’t always blow, and the sun doesn’t always shine so we need batteries to balance the system. Storage can help make the most of green energy, using it to manage peaks and troughs in demand and operate the electricity system as efficiently as possible – keeping costs down too. This will become more and more important as the demand for clean electricity grows. According to National Grid’s Future Energy Scenario for 2021, up to 13GW of electricity storage will be required in the UK by 2030 to support the increased installation of renewable generation.
This depends on the design of the specific site, but typically the batteries are housed in containers, which need to be installed on a level platform. These are then enclosed by fencing to maintain security. Our proposals always seek to retain any existing trees and hedgerows around the site and are designed to fit into the area sensitively. As part of the planned design, comprehensive landscaping such as tree planting or bunds help to ensure that there is minimal impact on the local area.
When we assess the feasibility of a site, we carefully look at a wide range of factors such as the local landscape, site access, ecology, connection to the grid to identify and address any potential impacts the scheme may have on the local area. We always aim for our battery energy storage schemes to have a low impact on the local area and a high impact in grid stability.
The energy storage process does not have any sound emissions associated with it. But to make sure the batteries remain at the correct temperature; a series of cooling fans are used. As part of a planning application a background noise survey would normally be conducted which would model and then assess any levels of noise.
Each application is assessed individually and where required a flood risk assessment completed to support a planning submission. This will assess whether there are any potential impacts and incorporate mitigation as necessary to ensure there is no increased flood risk from the development.
As with anything we do, safety is fundamental. In designing and selecting equipment for the site, we ensure that all safety standards and legislative requirements are met. The battery storage modules are designed to have a very low risk of failure, and an even lower risk that any failure would result in an incident. Our battery storage projects are built and operated in line with industry best practice, with multiple layers of prevention and protection systems that minimise risk. Both fire detection, monitoring and fire prevention equipment is installed in all the battery storage modules and onsite.
As part of the planning submission, we will provide details on the access route and number of predicted vehicle movements. The main impact would be during the initial phase of the construction works, when there would be a number of HGV movements. A Construction Traffic Management Plan is typically provided to support the planning process , setting out how we will manage and control vehicle movements to minimise any impact. Once operational, there will be negligible traffic movements as the site is monitored remotely with 1-2 weekly maintenance visits by a car or small van.
With all of our projects we want to make a positive contribution and enhance local ecology wherever we can. To achieve this an ecological survey is conducted to identify the conditions onsite. This informs our proposals and design. We look to incorporate a range of ecological enhancements. For example, it might include bird and bat boxes, bug hotels, tree planting and grass meadows. Local knowledge and feedback can play an important part in this.
The development is fully reversible, with an operational period of circa 35 years. The site would be fully restored to its existing condition on cessation of operations.
Tell us what you think
We’d like to hear your feedback to help us shape our plans. If you have any questions please get in touch.
Post: Cellarhead c/o Conrad Energy, Suites D&E Windrush Court, Blacklands Way, Abingdon, OX14 1SY