Plans by Conrad Energy to build a gas generation plant in Midsomer Norton have now been replaced by proposals for a battery storage scheme following discussions between the company and Bath & North East Somerset Council.
The decision to build the plant was put on hold in November 2020 while the council worked with the company to find a greener solution for the site which addresses residents’ concerns and can help meet the council’s core policy of tackling the climate emergency.
The new proposals would now see the consented gas generation project replaced with a battery storage scheme that has no emissions locally as the batteries’ ‘fuel’ would be electricity from the grid.
The facility would house eight containerized battery units, each consisting of hundreds of cells receiving electricity from the grid when demand from customers is low and releasing it back to customers when there is need. The site would be capable of delivering 6MW to the grid for up to two hours before needing to be recharged, boosting delivery of the council’s 2030 net zero carbon target.
The scheme would also allow a more resilient and controllable grid that can be turned on and off rapidly, making smarter use of energy and helping to reduce overall emissions.
Securing sufficient import electricity to charge big batteries is a particular challenge across the South West but Conrad Energy are working closely with Western Power Distribution on a viable solution.
Councillor Sarah Warren, Deputy Leader, Climate and Sustainable Travel, said: “Conrad Energy have listened and have worked hard with the council to ensure that we can bring forward plans for this site that help deliver our net zero targets and respond to the concerns raised by local residents. I’m delighted that the new plans would not impact on air quality or emissions locally and would also help us towards our goal to achieve net zero carbon by 2030. It is great that we are attracting innovative new projects such as this into our area, as we are going to need many more changes in the way we produce and use energy if we are to meet our goal.”
Chris Shears, Development Director at Conrad Energy, said: “In an increasingly connected world which places ever growing energy demand upon our infrastructure, we are delighted to be working in partnership with Bath & North East Somerset Council to introduce an exciting new energy technology to the area which complements their net zero policy. A whole range of novel technologies will be required as we decarbonize the UK economy and the Midsomer Norton battery project will put the area at the forefront of the energy revolution. We look forward to continuing to work with the local community and would like to thank the council for their constructive approach as we considered options for the site.”
The next step for the scheme will be for Conrad Energy to draw up and submit a new planning application. Residents will have a further opportunity to comment on the revised proposals as part of the planning application process.