Today, we received the green light as Balance Power successfully secured planning permission for our 30MW battery storage project in Worcester, known as Rectory Farm.
The good news comes at a pivotal moment in the UK’s net zero journey. As we continue to emerge from an energy crisis and a particularly tough winter, the importance of shifting towards a decarbonised energy system that provides cleaner, cheaper and more secure supplies of energy is stark. Meanwhile, awareness of the role that battery storage plays in providing domestically sourced renewables year-round is growing, and has taken centre stage in national conversations around net zero.
The Worcester region is already extensively supported by wind and solar PV projects, but battery storage is needed to balance their intermittent generation. Rectory Farm will enable renewable power to be stored at times of peak generation, and exported back on to the grid at times of high demand, ensuring grid stability and flexibility. Over its lifetime, Rectory Farm is also expected to abate over 83,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions. To put that into more familiar terms, it's equivalent to removing 1,518 cars from the road. As such, the project will not only bolster the security of our national energy supplies, it will also help reduce emissions.
For Balance Power, the project isn't just about storing renewable power; it's also about fostering community relationships and engaging positively with residents about the need for net zero infrastructure. We're proud to share that the project received the stamp of approval from Wychavon County Council after extensive community engagement, parish council meetings, and a pre-application process. We understand that the transition to net zero requires collective action, and we're thrilled to have the community's support.
Dan Levy, Planning Lead at Balance Power, rightly pointed out the importance of local engagement in our projects, stating:
"A lot of time was spent on early stages of the process, undertaking both a pre-application enquiry and EIA screening opinion. By utilising the advice received from the council, we were able to submit a robust planning application, which was met with a positive response. Notably, our project was swiftly approved as a delegated approval by the Planning Officer, forgoing the need for a planning committee review, indicative of its widespread acceptance and positive reception.
Our community engagement and outreach efforts were also received well, as we proactively shared informative flyers to all residents within the project's catchment area. These flyers contained a QR code, allowing residents to access comprehensive information on Balance Power, our battery storage solutions, key information about the site at Rectory Farm and finally an opportunity to provide feedback and request further information if necessary.
Our outreach efforts were met with minimal resistance, as residents raised few concerns. We maintained an open and constructive dialogue with residents to address any questions promptly."
The Rectory Farm battery storage project is set to become operational in 2024. Once the project reaches the end of its lifespan, after 40 years, the land it sits on will be restored to its original state and the lush grazing land will be returned.
Rectory Farm is a testament to our unwavering commitment to helping the UK decarbonise, whilst working with landowners, communities, and councils to put the right solutions in place for each region. Together, we're fostering greener, brighter future. Thank you for being a part of this journey!