“The general enthusiasm in the room for our ideas was both very clear and very encouraging”
Dozens of local people have taken their first look at outline plans for the development of a groundbreaking green energy hub at the former Thorpe Marsh power station site near Doncaster.
Renewable energy, minerals and property firm The Banks Group is looking 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 of Barnby Dun.
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.
Members of the Banks project team met with around 60 local people at the event in Barnby Dun Parish Hall to provide further information on what’s being planned, to listen to the views of local people, answer questions about how the different aspects of the outline scheme might be realised and discuss the benefits that could be delivered as part of the scheme.
Visitors included a number of former Thorpe Marsh power station employees.
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 battery design process is now underway and Banks is hoping to have the energy hub up and running by the middle of the decade if planning approval is granted.
Lewis Stokes, senior community relations manager at The Banks Group, says: “We had around 20 people booked in to meet our project team at this first event, but around three times this number turned up on the day and the general enthusiasm in the room for our ideas was both very clear and very encouraging.
”As well as speaking to residents, we also had a number of local businesses coming to speak with us about how they might get involved with the project, which fits in with Banks’ Connect To Renewables initiative through which we look to maximise our investment in the local economy on all our renewable energy projects.
“There were naturally a lot of questions asked about how we’re proposing to bring this landmark site back into active use, but the feedback we had to our responses was generally supportive and there was a recognition of the importance of producing as much of the energy that we all use by domestic renewable means.
“The launch event was a real success and we will continue our community engagement with further leaflets and more surgery events throughout the lifetime of the project, with the next one being for early next year.”
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 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 could be by rail, rather than by HGVs on local roads.
Lewis Stokes continues: “Our vision is to deliver a range of long-term environmental, energy security, employment, economic and community benefits through the reclamation and restoration of this landmark site while also supporting the UK’s drive towards its crucial net zero targets.
“The Thorpe Marsh Green Energy Hub would utilise the site’s large grid capacity to facilitate the increased deployment of renewable energy technologies on the National Grid network, so that more of the energy that we all use in our homes, businesses, schools and hospitals can be generated via renewable means.
“This is a nationally significant project that will put South Yorkshire at the forefront of developments in the increasingly important energy storage industry. We will continue speaking to local people, businesses and organisations through the coming months to share more information about our proposals as they evolve.
The planning applications for the different parts of the project could be submitted to Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council in the coming months, with Banks hoping to be able to begin work on site by 2024 if they are approved.
The Thorpe Marsh project team can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org