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Large-scale battery storage plan mooted for Caithness site

By Nicola Sinclair, Local Democracy Reporter

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The battery storage plan would store energy from nearby wind farms such as Bad a Cheo.
The battery storage plan would store energy from nearby wind farms such as Bad a Cheo.

Potencia Energy Limited hopes to build a battery storage facility in Caithness, to store power from nearby wind farms.

The company has submitted a planning application notice, which goes before councillors on the north planning committee on Wednesday, April 19.

The site is a six-hectare field just south of Mybster Inn Farm, in Spittal, near Thurso.

Potencia Energy wants to install a series of battery storage units, taking up a site area of around 2.37 hectares. Together, these units have potential to store 47MWh of energy. The company will link the battery units to Mybster grid supply point via an underground cable.

The development lies close to nearby wind farms including Bad a Cheo, Achlachan and Halsary. Potencia Energy’s website says battery storage is the key to unlocking the full potential of renewable energy. Since wind farm energy production is unpredictable, battery units can store the energy and release it back to the grid as needed.

The planning application includes battery storage containers accompanied by transformers and switch room, site access from the A9, landscaping and fencing. Potencia Energy’s website says the development will be set back from the main road and screened with a timber fence, while extensive tree planting will soften the visual impact.

At this stage, Potencia Energy has just notified the council of its intention to submit a full planning application. If it goes ahead, it will be categorised as a national scale development.

The plans have gone to Halkirk and Bower community councils, as well as local politicians. The company held a public consultation event on April 6 and will hold another on April 27 at Spittal community hall from 3-7pm.

Details of the development are also published on the Potencia Energy website.

Highland Council’s north planning committee meets on Wednesday to review planning applications in the area. At this stage, the Caithness battery storage plan is just for noting, and raising questions.

Councillors will consider whether to grant full planning permission at a later date.

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