CONTROVERSIAL plans for a battery storage system in Chickerell have been submitted to Dorset Council. 

Developer Statera Energy has eyed the area between Coldharbour and the substation next to Weymouth FC for 600 shipping containers housing battery cells.

The plans have been met with anger from some residents who claim the proposals would be a ‘ticking timebomb’ due to fire risk.

The Chickerell Action Group (CAG) is one campaign group set up against the battery strorage site and held an event in June encouraging people to back its campaign to stop the ‘dangerous’ plans.

Statera claims the development will provide 'essential renewable energy infrastructure' and also provide more than 16 hectares of parkland and new footpaths open to the public on previously inaccessible land.

It added that the 400MW facility will contribute to increased battery energy storage capacity and is 'crucial' to meeting the UK’s target of achieving net zero by 2050.

Statera says that the reason behind the proposed location is so the batteries can be plugged straight into the National Grid.

Plans will enable energy from solar and wind to be stored and then released when power is needed the most, the company added.

Statera has an agreement with the National Grid to connect the facility to the substation in 2027.

In response to fire risk, the energy firm said it has 'taken a lead' with the fire service which has visited one of its other facilities in Wiltshire to see how a similar facility works.

CAG claimed it was not 'economically viable' for developers to have the site further away, and questioned whether this was needed at all in Chickerell. 

"The absolute crux of our concern is a ticking timebomb on the edge of a large town which fills with tourists in the summer," member Kay Kelsall said in June.

"We understand that they [the batteries] need to be somewhere - we just don't want them to be where 53,000 people live and work."

Oliver Troup at Statera Energy said: “We are working towards a low carbon economy and a cleaner, greener outlook for future generations.

"Renewable energy has the additional advantages of providing security of electricity supply for the UK and the cheapest form of electricity generation for consumers.

“The electricity grid is evolving to meet the challenge of climate change and that means a substantial expansion of grid infrastructure around the main substations.

"There is no question that these developments are in the national – and global – interest.

“The challenge is in making this infrastructure acceptable for local people and ensuring that the surrounding community benefits.

"A growing body of research is showing that local people – in Dorset and nationally – care most about wildlife and the landscape and want to see income from these projects contributing to local needs and initiatives.

"Our proposals respond generously to those concerns.”

Statera added that it is in discussion with the Dorset Community Foundation to administer grants to groups across the area as part of the plans.

Another developer - Corylus - also wants to build a smaller battery storage system near Statera’s planned base, covering 0.69 hectares.

It has already submitted an application of its own for this which is under consideration by planning officers. 

To view Statera's plans in more detail, search for reference P/FUL/2023/04657 on Dorset Council's planning portal.