“This is a nationally important project that will put South Yorkshire at the forefront of developments in the increasingly important energy storage industry.”
Outline plans are set to be revealed for the creation of a groundbreaking green energy hub at the former Thorpe Marsh power station site near Doncaster.
Property, renewable energy and minerals firm The Banks Group is looking to create a new flexible energy management hub through the reclamation and restoration of the derelict former power station, with integrated biodiversity features including wetlands, woodlands and species-rich grassland on a 65-hectare area of land to the west of the village of Barnby Dun.
The project would take advantage of the site’s existing 1,450MW connection to the National Grid and 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.
The hub, which could store up to 2.8GWhrs of energy, would be used to ensure reliable and stable electricity grid operation at times of peak demand and would support the UK’s continuing drive towards its net zero ambitions.
A comprehensive public consultation process around Banks’ proposals for its regeneration will be carried out over the coming months in line with the company’s ‘development with care’ approach, with the launch set to take place next month at a surgery event from 2pm-7:30pm at Barnby Dun Parish Hall on Wednesday 2 November.
Members of the Banks project team will be available at the appointment-only event to answer queries about the scheme from local residents, businesses and other stakeholders.
The team is currently working through the battery design process and is hoping to have the flexible energy hub up and running by the middle of the decade if planning approval is granted.
A number of planned uses for the Thorpe Marsh site have been put forward over the years since the power station was decommissioned in 1994, but none have ever come to fruition.
Lewis Stokes, senior community relations manager at The Banks Group, says: “This is a nationally important project that will put South Yorkshire at the forefront of developments in the increasingly important energy storage industry.
“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.
“Informing, involving and listening to local people, businesses and other stakeholders in the communities around all our developments is an essential part of the way in which we work.
“Next month’s event is the first stage of a comprehensive public engagement programme that will ensure everyone can put forward their questions and ideas about our proposals.”
To prepare the Thorpe Marsh site, 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, which can be used as a secondary aggregate to make concrete blocks while also contributing to the decarbonisation of the construction industry.
To ensure that the primary method of removal of the material could take place by rail, rather than via local roads, the existing rail connection on the site will be refurbished.
The project complies with current local and national planning policies, while the site would be progressively developed as operations were being carried out.
A range of other environmental and social benefits could also be delivered by the project and the Banks team will be gathering ideas from the local community on what these could include.
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 Banks Group has more than 45 years’ experience of reclaiming and restoring challenging sites across Scotland and northern England.
Over the past 15 years, it has diversified into the deployment and operation of a growing range of renewable energy technologies, including onshore wind, solar and grid management.
Lewis Stokes continues: “Thorpe Marsh’s existing grid connection and its proximity to where much of the energy that will be produced by the east coast’s growing portfolio of wind farms will come ashore makes it an excellent location for this project, and we are excited to develop designs for what we believe will be the UK’s largest battery storage facility.
“The first phase of our reclamation work will also maximise the recovery of a secondary aggregate that would be supplied to end users in the UK construction industry and would contribute towards the industry’s ongoing decarbonisation.
“We know that minimising the HGV movements required on local roads during this work will be important to local people, and with one train journey equating to 92 HGV movements, the use of railway infrastructure would minimise traffic movements on the local road network.
“We have an extensive track record in every aspect of the project we’re proposing to deliver and believe our plans offer the optimum way in which to turn a long-derelict site into a valuable community asset that delivers extensive environmental, energy and biodiversity benefits across the UK.”
To reserve a place at the Barnby Dun Parish Hall surgery on Wednesday 2 November, or to arrange to speak to the Thorpe Marsh project team at a different time, please email email@example.com