Major Coldstream battery plant on farmland put on agenda

A screening request has been submitted to Scottish Borders Council for a 500mv storage facility and substation, with security fencing, CCTV cameras and associated infrastructure on The Laundry Field on land east and north of Stainrigg Mains Farm, near the village of Leitholme.

The proposed near-30 hectare development would allow electricity from the national grid to be stored in batteries at times of low demand and then exported back to the grid at times of high demand.

This will assist in ensuring a resilient grid, providing a more reliable supply of energy to users.

The development will also help support the de-carbonisation of the grid by enabling the grid to accept a greater proportion of electricity generated from more intermittent renewable sources of energy such as wind and solar.

The generating capacity is expected to be up to 500 megawatts.

The application to the Energy Consents Unit has been submitted by York-based AAH Planning Consultants, on behalf of GPC Battery Ltd, which has its headquarters in Leeds.

A submission with the application says: “The proposed development site comprises 29.25 hectares of agricultural land currently used for farming, which adjoins the A697 to the south-west and the B6461 to the south-east.

“An agricultural machinery dealership adjoins the southernmost corner of the application site at the junction of these two roads. Agricultural buildings, woodland, and open fields lie to the south of the application site, together with some residential dwellings and their gardens.

“The eastern boundary of the site adjoins a garden and woodland belonging to the category B listed Stainrigg House. Agricultural fields adjoin the site to the north, and the northernmost edge of the  application site is defined by Lamboden Burn.

“Battery storage facilities have specific locational requirements, principally in relation to grid capacity and points of connection to the electricity transmission network.

“A nationwide search was carried out to identify land which is appropriate for the proposed use. The site was selected due to its proximity to a viable grid connection at Eccles Substation and the fact that the site is not subject to any heritage or ecological designations, is not visually prominent and is not likely to result in any significant ecological or heritage impacts.

“In addition, the site is not located within a residential area. Whilst a small number of dwellings are located close to the southern boundary of the application site, the site is sufficiently large to ensure that development can be kept at an appropriate distance to these dwellings.”