Plans for an innovative new energy generation and storage facility on Teesside are set to be brought forward by a North East employer.
The Banks Group is looking to invest around £3.5m in developing a Flexible Energy Park on the Bowesfield Crescent Industrial Estate in Stockton-on-Tees, which will include a natural gas / hydrogen “peaker plant” and an electricity storage battery.
Batteries serve a useful role in balancing electrical load, importing when there is excess generation and exporting when there is a deficit.
Electricity released at times of high demand can provide a short-term boost when required, with gas generators stepping in if more energy is needed.
The site, which is well screened by fencing, wild brambles and other plants, has been chosen due to its good infrastructure links and access to Northern Powergrid’s electricity network.
To ensure local people are fully informed about the new plans during the Covid-19 pandemic, County Durham-headquartered Banks will be hosting an online webinar from 7pm on Tuesday 17 November at which participants will be able to comment on the proposals and ask questions directly to the project team.
In addition to this, information leaflets are being delivered to around 1,000 local homes and businesses, while a dedicated project web page containing the key plans and information has been published.
A project-specific email address through which local people can contact the project team with any queries or comments is also available.
The Banks Group was the developer of the Bowesfield site, a unique mixed-use site on the banks of the River Tees in Stockton which includes an integrated 15-hectare wildlife conservation area.
Mark Rowcroft, technical manager at The Banks Group, says: “This is an exciting project that will play an important role in balancing the power network whilst improving the local environment, and having already invested in creating something unique at Bowesfield, we’re proud to now be delivering this new scheme in our home region.
“Peaker plants will play an important part in the UK’s continuing journey to Net Zero by providing greater security of energy supply which in turn allows more renewable generation onto the network.
“While these plants currently run on natural gas, they will be able to run on green hydrogen in due course, and with Teesside being a growing base for hydrogen production, we hope to be able to run our peaker plant on it in due course.
“As many people are currently finding, the pandemic is impacting on the ways in which we can hold the usual face-to-face community exhibitions that we like to provide for our planning applications, but we are working hard to ensure that everyone has access to comprehensive information about the scheme, can view and comment on our proposals and can contact members of the project team with any queries or ideas they might have.”
The Banks Group is looking to submit a planning application for the Bowesfield Flexible Energy Park to Stockton Borough Council before the end of the year, with a view to it being considered by the council’s planning committee in spring 2021.