Hopefully by now, you know that we’re in the six week consultation period in which we can explore some of the details that will be included in the final application.
Previously, the profit-motivated Cleve Hill Solar Park (CHSP) developers mentioned that they wanted to include a storage facility, but were only able to provide a simplistic diagram and a brief paragraph – basically they had no idea what they were going to do.
The recently released Preliminary Environmental Impact Assessement report (PEIR) does now include some more information, but much is still in doubt. Here’s what we’ve found so far:
- They may or may not include this – they still haven’t decided and are keeping their options open.
- To quote: “A battery storage generating station exceeding 50 MW, or an extension of the solar PV generating station” (Page 5-5)
- They still haven’t decided yet whether it is batteries or something else.
- To quote: “The energy storage market is currently subject to a large degree of uncertainty and it is not yet known exactly what form the energy storage facility is likely to take” (Page 5-17)
- Their ‘candidate design’ is a mega-mega battery. If you thought that Tesla’s Australian project was big, wait until you see the one that CHSP are proposing – it’s three times as big!
- To quote: “the energy storage facility comprises an approximately 350 megawatt hour (MWh) battery array which will be located within the electrical compound adjacent to the west of the Development substation. This battery array has been designed using a modular, fully integrated, AC-coupled industrial energy storage system (Powerpack 2 System Site Design Manual, Tesla (2017))” (Page 5-17)
- The battery storage will have an import/export facility – presumably the developers will be looking to use the storage to provide smoothing facility to the National Grid when the sun isn’t shining.
- To quote: “The connection to the National Grid will be an import/export connection to facilitate the charging of the energy storage facility.” (Page 5-19)
- They haven’t decided when they’re building the energy storage facility – it could be in a phase two within phase one, a phase two after phase one, or a phase two with multiple phases within it. Confused yet?
- To quote: “The construction period is likely to be undertaken in at least two phases: Phase one will include the construction of all aspects of the Development except the energy storage facility; and Phase two will include the construction of the energy storage facility (phase two in itself could be undertaken in multiple phases (e.g., phase two A to C) in order to deliver smaller amounts of energy storage capacity gradually). Whilst it is possible that phase two may be undertaken during phase one, CHSPL wishes to preserve the flexibility to deliver the energy storage facility separately (and potentially via its own phased construction) at a later date if necessary. ” (page 5-20)
- They’re overclaiming the potential benefits from storage to the UK. The quoted report is about three types of innovative smart energy not just storage. To put a figure of £8 billion in their report is surely rather misleading?
- To quote: “A report by the National Infrastructure Commission26 (in 2016) estimates that smart power systems in the UK, which include energy storage “could save consumers up to £8 billion a year by 2030, help the UK meet its 2050 carbon tar gets and secure the UK’s energy supply for generations” . ” (page 6-14)
Do not underestimate this part of the project – they’re keeping the focus on the solar component because the public’s perception of solar is good (based on the typical small solar parks that have become common-place). This part of the project is hugely industrial, massive in scale, requires lots of concrete, will need huge levels of security protection, is full of chemicals and rare-earth minerals, will need to be kept cool, and will need constant maintenance and upgrades.