Innova are proposing a 1 gigawatt (GW) Energy Storage System (ESS) project to be located on land on Fairfield Farm, Walton on Trent.
The proposal would support the UK’s transition to Net Zero and the increased use of renewable energy through supporting the availability of energy to the National Grid. Renewable energy is characterised by its intermittent generation profile. For example, solar energy is produced during daylight hours, and wind generation fluctuates between seasons and during windy/less windy periods.
Energy storage developments like the one proposed at Fairfield Farm provide a solution to this by storing electricity from the grid at times of peak generation and releasing electricity back into the grid at times of peak demand. The proposal would provide a significant amount of energy storage capacity which is needed to balance the supply and demand for energy in the UK. It also facilitates the continued deployment of renewable energy onto the electricity network.
The site has been carefully selected and designed through a detailed assessment process considering heritage, landscape, ecological and environmental designations, access, flooding, transport, and agricultural land quality. We have engaged a team of expert consultants to provide advice on the project.
An important part of the development process is to engage with the local community. We therefore hosted a community consultation event at Walton on Trent Parish Council, Main Street, Walton on Trent, South Derbyshire, DE12 8LZ on Tuesday 3rd October 2023.
As part of this consultation, sought comments from the local community in order to shape the proposal before we submit the planning application to South Derbyshire District Council, and see whether the proposal can provide any additional benefits to local residents.
The site design is continually evolving and informed by detailed assessments, drawing upon the expertise of numerous specialist disciplines.
The site has been carefully selected via a thorough review of the land withing a 2km radius of the former Drakelow Power Station, and the design informed through an ongoing and detailed assessment process.
The site we have selected will provide the following benefits:
The confirmed availability of physical space and grid capacity for both import and export of electricity into the national grid substation.
Existing mature trees and hedgerows surround much of the site providing screening of the proposal.
Set away from local communities in a discrete location.
Existing electrical infrastructure adjacent to the site.
Located outside of any statutory ecological or landscape designations and is not expected to significantly impact any heritage assets.
Suitable access for construction vehicles and abnormal loads.
Medium Voltage (MV Skid): The MV Skid is required to convert the Direct Current (DC) to Alternating Current (AC).
Transformers: The purpose of these transformers is to raise the voltage for export to the National Grid, and vice versa.
Substation buildings: The main substation contains the largest items of the plant, consisting of a Gas Insulated Switchgear (GIS) hall, transformers. and filters. It will have a footprint of approximately two acres.
Access tracks: Access Tracks will be established across the site. During the construction phase a construction compound would be established for storage materials, plant, parking. and worker offices and welfare units.
Security: A fence will be installed around the perimeter of the development at a height of approximately two metres. and the site will be monitored by inward facing CCTV cameras.
Innova have undertaken an initial assessment to confirm that the necessary abnormal load construction vehicles can safely access and egress the site. A small number of loads may require abnormal load transportation. The construction route will predominately use the strategic road network focusing on the A444.
The route will be agreed with the local highway authority and police, who will also be informed of delivery timings once this information is available. We are currently assessing the number of construction vehicles which will be required. This will be detailed within the Construction Traffic Management Plan, which will be submitted as part of the planning application.
Once operational, the site will be visited for occasional routing maintenance, typically once or twice a month by a light goods vehicle. In the first five operational years, regular visits will be made by landscape contractors and ecologists to monitor and manage completed landscape works.
Specialist environmental surveys
Landscape and Visual
We have completed a Landscape Appraisal, and are currently undertaking a full Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (LVIA), which will accompany the planning application. Key viewpoints from the surrounding area will be assessed and provided with this LVIA.
The site benefits from existing mature tree and hedgerows, and is set away from sensitive receptors. There are existing electrical overhead lines that run east of the development area. We are proposing an additional hedgerow which will further limit the views of the site.
According to the Natural England Regional Land Classification Map, the site is located predominately on Grade 3 agricultural land. Grade 3b, 4 and 5 are classified as lower grade agricultural land. A site-specific survey has been undertaken and confirm that the Land Classification for the development area is positioned on a mix of Grade 3b, 3a and 2 land.
A Flood Risk Assessment (FRA) is currently underway which will review how the site could be affected by flooding and from surface water. The site is predominantly located within Flood Zone 1. If any mitigations are required, these will be discussed with South Derbyshire District Council.
Archaeology and Heritage
A Historic Environmental Desk-Based Assessment has been completed. This assessment considered the available archaeological, historic, topographic, and land-use information in order to establish the potential for any effects on heritage assets in the area, and the likelihood of encountering archaeological remains on the site. The site will cause no harm to the significance of any designated heritage assets. There is a low to moderate potential that of archaeological remains to the western part of the site. A geophysical survey will be undertaken to confirm if any are present.
We have undertaken a Noise Impact Assessment of the site, which has identified the closest noise receptors and informed the proposed layout. We are proposing acoustic fencing around the energy storage system to the western side resulting in the background noise level increasing by 2dB, which is negligible.
Community Benefit Fund
At Innova, we put community and charitable benefit fund in place for all our projects. Once operational, the Fairfield Farm Energy Storage Project would be able to make an annual community payment of £51,250 per year to fund local projects and programmes. A further £20,500 per year would be donated to charitable causes. We welcome ideas on how these funds could be put to use locally.
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