Second battery store planned to keep the lights on in Penwortham

A second battery storage plant, designed to top up mains supplies when the demand for electricity is high, has been given the green light on green belt land in Penwortham.

By Brian Ellis
Monday, 2nd May 2022, 3:45 pm

A field off Howick Cross Lane, close to the town's huge National Grid sub-station, will house 18 banks of power storage units and other equipment to stockpile energy until it is needed.

The scheme sits right next door to the proposed site of another battery facility with enough capacity to supply the whole of Preston. That project, by Penwortham Storage Ltd, was first suggested back in 2012, but has still not been built.

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What the battery storage facility could look like.

The latest application, by Shaw-Energi Ltd of Newton-le-Willows, takes up just over an acre of agricultural land.

The company says the site is "almost invisible" from outside because it is well-screened by trees and fencing.

Its larger neighbour, which will be three times as big and provide almost 50 megawatts of power when it is completed, will also hide it from view.

Both sites are around 200 metres from the National Grid high voltage sub-station which sits in 52 acres of countryside to the west of Penwortham.

The battery storage facility would be connected to Penwortham's sprawling National Grid sub-station.

Battery storage plants are springing up across the country and provide a top-up to the power network when consumer demand peaks or the system crashes.

"They balance frequency fluctuations on the grid system and make a significant contribution to the local network's energy security during peak demand, thus providing a distinct local advantage to residents who would benefit during periods of power disruption," says a report to the council.

"The proposed facility will take up energy at times of low demand and release it back to the grid at times of higher demand."

Suitable sites for grid connection of battery facilities are restricted to areas in close proximity to network services, such as the Penwortham sub-station.

Both Penwortham battery storage schemes have been deemed to have "very special circumstances" for development on green belt land.

The Shaw-Energi site will have 2.5 metre high security fences and an all-round CCTV system. A new site entrance will be built off Howick Cross Lane.