Cambridge Power has secured planning permission for a 100MW Battery Energy Storage system (BESS) facility in Staploe, Bedfordshire, adjoining the Eaton Socon Grid Sub Station.
In addition to the sustainability benefits of battery storage in supporting the transition to low-carbon electricity, the site near Eaton Socon will see significant biodiversity net gains provided as part of the scheme put forward by Cambridge Power. Extensive planting is proposed, alongside the technical infrastructure, to provide ecological benefit and landscape mitigation and achieve a very significant biodiversity net gain of 71%.
This includes a new tree-lined, native and species-rich hedgerow along the existing site access track off Bushmead Road, new species-rich grassland habitat and extensive areas of scrubland and woodland blocks around the Site to provide visual screening and assimilate the BESS into the landscape.
This is also the first site with planning permission that will benefit from a technical grid connection solution developed by UKPN as part of their Regional Development Programme (RDP). The RDP’s are designed to unlock additional network capacity and reduce constraints by offering BESS a grid connection with restrictions in use based around peak demand and peak generation times on the network. They aim to introduce new ways of working that significantly enhance transmission and distribution systems coordination and control. They ‘design by doing’, creating whole system efficiencies as quickly as possible enabling Cambridge Power to now progress their construction timetable and meet the revised near-term connection date of 2024 and deliver the first project under the RDP. The hope is that National Grid will adopt this successful RDP solution as part of the grid remodeling exercise currently going through consultation, enabling significant capacity to connect to the UK grid network ahead of current suggested delays.
Neil Waterson, Head of Planning at Cambridge Power says: “We are delighted to secure permission, under delegated powers, for this 100MW BESS from Bedford Borough Council and are grateful for the support of all our consultants, including Engena, WSP, Turley, Orion Heritage and Hopkins Ecology in helping to achieve another positive outcome for Cambridge Power.”