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Pond Flexible Energy Park – Pond- FAQs

What kind of project is Pond?+

Pond is a Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) which will be connected to the grid and store surplus electricity for later use.

What is the lifespan of Pond?+

We are applying for up to 50 years consent for Pond  

Why do we need battery storage?+

We need battery storage to balance our electricity grid and help speed up the transition towards more renewable energy. Solar & wind power both rely on weather conditions and as result, generation can sometimes be out of step with the country’s demand. Batteries address this by storing electricity during times of surplus generation and releasing this back to the grid when demand is higher.  

How will Pond benefit the environment?+

By building Pond BESS instead of a new, equivalent gas terminal – an estimated 36,000 t of CO2 will be saved in the first year. Batteries are also the quickest way of adding storage to the grid, and more storage enables more renewables like wind and solar to be developed, speeding up our transition to net-zero.  

How does storage enable more renewables on the grid?+

Batteries directly address the problem of intermittency with wind and solar – the wind doesn’t always blow and the sun doesn’t always shine! However, on windy days, we often generate more energy than we need. By storing this energy in times of surplus and supplying it back when the grid needs it, we can avoid wasting all that energy and increase the amount of low carbon electricity on the grid. 

How much electricity can Pond store?+

Pond is a 2 hour battery with a 200MW export capacity. When fully charged, Pond can supply the peak electricity demands of around 240,000 homes (or the average demands of around 600,000) 

How does Pond make money?+

Pond will provide a service to the grid by storing electricity when there is a surplus and supplying energy back to the grid when it needs it. Helping to keep the grid balanced throughout the day.   

Where will Pond be located?+

Pond BESS is located on the Pond industrial estate adjacent to the A7066 and Whitburn Road 

What is the land currently used for?+

The land is currently in industrial use.  

Why this location, and were other sites considered?+

This location is ideal for a battery project as it is on existing brownfield land – so there’s no need to remove green space. It is well screened from the road and local houses by well-established tree cover and vegetation which will minimise any visual impact. It is also close to a main road for easy access to the site, these large roads also reduce the risk of traffic disruption as a result of the project 

Are batteries safe?+

Batteries are an extremely reliable technology and are the most common method of energy storage today – you can find them throughout your home in everything from phones, fire alarms, Electric Cars, and pacemakers. 

Batteries have amongst the lowest accident rate of any energy-based technology and are inherently safer than natural gas pipelines, which are often associated with domestic leaks, fires and explosions. 

What safety features are in place to minimise the risk of any accident?+

Since the very early stages of this project, we’ve been working hard to design a site with best-practice health and safety procedures. This includes spacing out the units, so they are a safe distance apart, installing cooling & monitoring systems to the units themselves and installing a high perimeter wall around the site.  

A 24 hour monitoring system means that if a rise in temperature is detected, fire suppression systems can be activated straight away, and electricity to the site can be instantly shut off.  

What happens if there is a fire?+

Pond battery will be designed with a robust fire protection system. The exact specifications will depend on the manufacturer, but these usually involve a 24 hour monitoring system covering smoke, gas, temperature and individual components of the battery as well as an active fire suppression system. Usually, suppression systems are installed into each individual unit with either a gas or water-based delivery to fully extinguishing a fire inside the unit as soon as it is detected.  

How will the project benefit the local economy?+

The total investment figure for Pond is estimated to be well over £100 million, with the main local opportunities in things like construction, groundworks, civil engineering, and remediation.   

Our ‘Connect2Renewables’ initiative means that we prioritise working with local businesses wherever possible, and we will look to maximise the amount we spend locally by working directly with local contractors and mandating that sub-contractors be appointed locally as well.   

You can find out more about Connect2Renewables and our track record here 

How will Pond benefit the local community?+

We have been working in close consultation with the local community council in Bathgate to identify appropriate ways for this project to help benefit the community. We’re also asking for feedback from the local community, how do you think Pond BESS could help support or improve the local area? 

How will you manage traffic around the site?+

We will work closely with local authority, residents, and the community council to ensure that traffic around the site is properly managed during the construction phase of the project. This will involve a traffic management plan being drawn up which will be agreed with the local council before we can proceed with building Pond.  

After the construction phase, there will be very few traffic movements from site and this is expected to have a negligible impact on local roads. 

How will the energy be exported?+

Energy will be exported via connection to the national grid.  

How will Pond BESS connect to the grid?+

Pond will connect to the grid via a planned new substation at Harburn which is scheduled for construction as part of pre-existing plans to upgrade the electricity grid there. Power will be transported via a mix of overhead and underground cabling.  

Will this project produce any odours or smells?+

Pond BESS will not produce any odours or smells as part of it’s normal operations

How will Pond affect the security of local supply?+

Having local storage capacity will fundamentally improve the security of supply in the local area’s electricity grid.

How will this affect resilience of supply for Scotland?+

Similarly, more battery storage based in Scotland means that the grid will be more resilient against sudden demand rises or short term supply issues. 

Will you be employing from the local area? +

Yes – We are committing to extending our ‘Connect2Renewables’ initiative which prioritises local businesses when tendering for work on our sites. We also mandate that our primary contractors adhere to this value when sub-contracting on our sites. At both levels, this helps drive local opportunities for local people.   

Will Pond be noisy? +

We are designing Pond to minimise the noise level. This has involved extensive noise modelling, changing the orientation of the units, adding noise suppression to our site design and being selective with the suppliers we consider – as a result we expect there to be no unacceptable noise impacts. 

I’m concerned about visual impacts, will Pond change the landscape? +

Pond’s site is naturally well screened due to its geography and natural vegetation. Our proposals will protect and enhance this screening with minimal views expected from residential properties or road users. Due to its location in an existing industrial estate, building Pond will not cause a significant change to the local landscape.  

Will you engage with local schools to teach students about our energy system? +

Yes! We would be happy to organise educational visits or outreach for local schools so they can learn about our energy system and how its evolving. Please email us at pond@banksgroup.co.uk to discuss further. 

How much time and money is being spent on environmental improvements and giving back to the community? +

We have worked hard since the very early days of this project to find ways in which Pond can have a genuinely positive impact on the local area. As part of this commitment – Pond will provide biodiversity benefits (such as local planting) and will also provide £20,000 a year in community benefit funding, as well as supporting sustainable transport in the area.  

Is it safe for humans, animals, and plants to be near batteries? +

It is perfectly safe for humans, animals, and plants to exist near batteries – In fact, batteries are present throughout our day-to-day life in phones, laptops and even pacemakers.  

Will you be laying cabling to export electricity, and will this be disruptive? +

Any cabling works will be carried out in agreement between Banks Renewables and the grid operator.  This precise agreement of works is still to be confirmed, and much of the high-voltage cabling work legally needs to be completed by the grid operator.   

Regardless of who is completing the work, disruption will be kept to an absolute minimum during the construction phase of the project and we’ll make sure that local residents are kept well informed of any activity. 

What happens to batteries at the end of their life? +

While certain battery types can be difficult to recycle, the technology currently used in BESS projects (like Pond) doesn’t contain elements like cobalt which can make recycling a challenge.

As a result, there is a growing industry around recycling the components of old battery cells – the majority of which are fully recyclable and in-demand for reuse in other projects. In fact, there’s so much value in recycling that many manufacturers’ contracts now include return and recycling agreements at the end of life

Now that Banks Renewables have new owners, will Pond still be managed and operated in the UK? +

Pond flexible energy park will be developed and operated by the Banks’ Hamilton-based renewables team. The only change you’re likely to notice is an upcoming change in name, otherwise it’s business as usual! 

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