Plans for the development of a groundbreaking green energy hub at the former Thorpe Marsh power station site near Doncaster have been backed by a local environmental volunteer.
Ann Llewellyn was one of around 60 people who attended a recent event held by renewable energy, minerals and property firm The Banks Group in her home village of Barnby Dun on how Banks wants to create a new flexible energy storage hub through the reclamation and restoration of a 65-hectare area of land to the west of the village.
The project would involve the deployment of what is thought to be the largest battery energy storage system currently being planned in the UK, and one of the largest anywhere in the world.
Ann Llewellyn, who volunteers locally with the Canal & River Trust, believes the underused Thorpe Marsh site provides an excellent location for the type of project that Banks is developing and could also bring wider benefits to the area.
She says: “It’s been good to see the positive community response to Banks’ proposals so far and I think it’s a wonderful idea to use this site for a renewable energy project, especially with the jobs that it will bring in mind.
“Much of the land at Thorpe Marsh has been unused for many years and it would be great to bring it back to life, especially in ways which demonstrate what environmental benefits can be achieved in practice through a carefully planned approach such as this.
“The Thorpe Marsh Nature Reserve is well used by walkers and other visitors who want to enjoy the fresh air and adding further accessible areas with attractive environments could encourage more people to visit and see what the wider area has to offer.”
“I think it’s a wonderful idea to use this site for a renewable energy project, especially with the jobs that it will bring in mind.”
The Thorpe Marsh Green Energy Hub could store up to 2.8GWhrs of energy, which is enough to supply around 340,000 households with electricity for one day and would be used to ensure reliable and stable electricity grid operation at times of peak demand.
The development would also feature a number of integrated environmental enhancements, including wetlands, woodlands and species-rich grassland, while a range of other economic and social benefits could also be delivered by the project, with the Banks project team now gathering ideas from the local community on what these could include.
The first phase of the project proposes to progressively remove and reclaim the power station’s former ash disposal area by recovering up to 2.25m tonnes of pulverised fuel ash (PFA) over a five-year period, with the existing rail connection on the site being refurbished to ensure that the primary method of removal of the material would be by rail, rather than by HGVs on local roads.
Lewis Stokes, senior community relations manager at The Banks Group, adds: “The feedback we’ve had since launching our Thorpe Marsh plans has been very encouraging, and it’s good to see local people like Ann recognising the wider benefits that it could bring to their community.
“Local people clearly appreciate how important it is to generate as much of the country’s energy as we can by homegrown renewable means and our plans will help in this respect.
“Our aim is to deliver a range of long-term environmental, energy security, employment, economic and community benefits through this nationally significant project while also supporting the UK’s drive towards its crucial net zero targets.
“We are continuing our community engagement work around the launch of this project and there will be many more opportunities for us to engage with local people.”
The first of the planning applications for the different parts of the project was recently submitted to Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council, with more to follow in the coming months, and Banks hoping to be able to begin work on site by 2024 if they are all approved.
The Thorpe Marsh project team can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org