A South Yorkshire community leader and former councillor has backed plans for the development of a groundbreaking green energy hub at the former Thorpe Marsh power station site near Doncaster.
Renewable energy, minerals and property firm The Banks Group is progressing plans to create the new flexible energy storage hub through the reclamation and restoration of a 65-hectare area of land to the west of the village of Barnby Dun, and would develop what is thought to be the largest battery energy storage system currently being planned in the UK.
The family firm has been meeting with people across local communities to explain their proposals and listen to local feedback since the project was launched last October, with a planning application being submitted to Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council for the battery energy storage system in January.
After attending one of Banks’ local consultation events to find out more about the project, and having led local campaigns against previous proposals for the Thorpe Marsh site’s redevelopment, former councillor Tony Sockett has now given his support to the new scheme.
“The realistic requirement for us all to face up to is that we will require alternative forms of energy and the fact that the Thorpe Marsh site is on the National Grid is a bonus to us.”
“The installation of the plans that are being made by Banks is positive in that it will be able to hold the electricity until such time as it can be fed into the National Grid, and thus providing energy for future generations.”
The Thorpe Marsh Green Energy Hub could store up to 2.8 GWhrs of electricity, which is enough to supply around 340,000 households for one day and would be used to ensure reliable and stable electricity grid operation at times of peak demand.
The development would also feature a number of integrated environmental enhancements, including wetlands, woodlands and species-rich grassland, while a range of other economic and social benefits could also be delivered by the project, with the Banks project team now gathering ideas from the local community on what these could include.
“We’ve got to be mindful of the fact that, with the loss of coal and reduction in gas levels, there is a need for some sort of alternative energy facility, which is why I think this is a very different project to others that have gone before.”
Jamilah Hassan, community relations manager at The Banks Group, adds: “We’re very grateful to Mr Sockett for his support for our Thorpe Marsh plans, as well as to all the other local people and businesses that have recognised the benefits of what we’re looking to do here.
“Our aim is to deliver a range of long-term environmental, energy security, employment, economic and community benefits through this nationally significant project while also supporting the UK’s drive towards its crucial net zero targets.”
Further planning applications for the different parts of the project are expected to be submitted to the now City of Doncaster Council in the coming months, with Banks hoping to be able to begin work on site by 2024 if they are all approved.