Yorkshire village could be 'swamped' with batteries as storage facility approved

A battery storage facility that will power 26,000 homes with renewable energy has been approved by councillors – despite concerns a Yorkshire village could be “swamped” with them.

Aura Power has been granted permission for the 0.7 hectare facility in the village of Drax, 600 metres from its huge power station.

George Wilyman, planning manager at Aura Power, told Selby councillors that one of the drawbacks of renewable energy is that the generation of electricity cannot be controlled to match customer demand.

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The batteries will store electricity at times of high generation and release it back to the grid at times of increased demand, via a connection at the power station.

Drax power station

“It will also significantly assist the UK’s ambition to achieve energy security,” he added. “The alternative is generating power from diesel, gas or hydroelectric at times of high demand.”

The planning application was brought before councillors as 20 people had registered objections.

Among them was parish councillor Diane Hall, who said in a statement read out at the planning committee: “Drax is a rural village despite the size of the power station – the residents would like to keep it that way. The intended site for the storage facility is the wrong one.

“Ukraine – the breadbasket of Europe – is at present under siege. We in the UK therefore need every available acre of agricultural land for food production.”

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She highlighted the negative impact she believed the facility would have on residents and local businesses, including a local stables and cattery.

Coun Charles Richardson said: “I find this proposal frankly inconceivable in that location. I think it blights several neighbouring properties, all of which already have to live with Drax and are overshadowed by the daily noise and scale of Drax every day.”

Coun Ian Chilvers added: “It is totally out of keeping with Drax. It is a tiny village, a hamlet really – it would sit nicely with the power station itself. Why not move it on to the power station site?”

Councillors were told that five other battery facilities have either been approved or have plans submitted for approval in Drax and the surrounding area.

Coun John Mackman said: “At some point cumulative impact is going to be a big issue, because Selby district at the end of the day doesn’t want to be swamped – it didn’t want to be swamped with wind farms and it doesn’t want to be swamped with batteries either.”

But he said each proposal had to be taken on its own merits and that he would support it.

Coun John Cattanach added: “I believe that these kinds of storage facilities are going to become more and more common because that’s the way we’re moving.”

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