Plans for an innovative new energy generation and storage facility on Teesside have been under discussion at a special webinar set up 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.

As part of its public consultation work around the proposed scheme, the County Durham-headquartered business set up the webinar to allow the Banks project team to give a presentation on the details of the proposed energy park and to enable local people to ask them questions directly about different aspects of its development.

A recording of the webinar has now been made available on the dedicated project webpage to allow anyone who couldn’t attend on the day to find out what was discussed.

In addition to the webinar and the webpage, information leaflets have been delivered to around 1,000 local homes and businesses, while a project-specific email address has also been set up to allow local people to contact the project team directly.

The Banks Group was the original 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.

The proposed site for the energy park is well screened by fencing, wild brambles and other plants, and has been chosen due to its good infrastructure links and access to Northern Powergrid’s electricity network.

Local businesses which have services to contribute to the scheme are also now being invited to register their interest with Banks via the project email address.

Mark Rowcroft, technical manager at The Banks Group, says: “Involving local communities is an essential part of the development of all our schemes, and we’re working hard to make sure we can continue to do this despite the restrictions that the pandemic is imposing on everyone.

“Holding online events like this webinar is proving to be a beneficial approach and we’re grateful to all the local people who took the time to take part in it.

“Peaker plants and battery storage 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, and having already invested in creating something unique at Bowesfield, we’re now proud to be looking to deliver this new scheme in our home region.”

The Banks Group is aiming 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.