A proposal to add battery storage capacity to a consented solar energy scheme to the east of Leeds has been submitted to Leeds City Council for review.
Banks Renewables secured planning approval in 2021 for the proposed Barnsdale Solar Energy Park between Kippax and Allerton Bywater that would be able to generate enough electricity to meet the annual requirements of up to 12,000 family homes.
Since then, the Banks project team has been working on the detail of the project, which will include solar panels covering an area of around 50 hectares of south-facing land and will link directly into the Ledston Primary electricity sub-station which sits to the south east of the site along Barnsdale Road.
And it has now gone back to the Council for permission to add a containerised battery energy storage system with the capacity to hold up to 40MW of the electricity generated at the site, which is enough to power around 48,000 homes for two hours during peak times.
The original Barnsdale scheme was supported by both Allerton Bywater and Kippax Parish Councils, and after being recommended for approval by the City Council’s expert planning officers, won unanimous support from the members of its planning committee.
Its detailed ecology and biodiversity strategy will see the biggest increase in biodiversity for any renewables project within Leeds to date.
It includes extensive wildflower meadows, wetland habitat, native trees, scrub and hedgerow planting, and will achieve a biodiversity net gain of 107%, which is more than ten times the expected outcome for a project of this type.
As part of its policy of delivering tangible benefits to the local communities in which its operations are based, over £800,000 of the revenues generated by Barnsdale will be directed into a community fund that will provide grants to support local community groups and voluntary organisations over its lifetime.
The benefits of co-locating battery storage capacity alongside solar energy generation facilities in this way are proven and accepted, and having had a great deal of local support for the Barnsdale project, we hope Leeds City Council’s planning committee will be similarly supportive of this application.” Jamilah Hassan, community relations manager at the Banks Group
“We are focused on delivering the wide range of environmental, ecological, energy security and social benefits that will be realised through the Barnsdale solar energy park for both local communities and the wider region, and on further extending the contribution we are making in Yorkshire towards the UK’s crucial Net Zero targets.
“Maximising the production and storage of renewable energy from sources within the UK is a crucial part of our nation’s ongoing journey towards its Net Zero targets, especially with the current energy security and cost of living crisis in mind.”
Local residents, businesses and community groups can find out more about the plans for the Barnsdale solar energy park by visiting www.banksgroup.co.uk/barnsdalesolar