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Fears ‘major disaster’ could hit Danestone as plan for ANOTHER battery storage site lodged

A 70MW battery energy storage system could be built next to the Persley waste water treatment plant.

Danestone Community Council members Laura Davison, Sarah-Jane Foxen and Kathryn Duncan next to a picture of battery storage units
Danestone Community Council members Sarah-Jane Foxen, Laura Davison and Kathryn Duncan have raised concerns as plans for a second battery storage facility in the area have been lodged. Image: Roddie Reid/DC Thomson

Fearful Bridge of Don residents are worried that having two battery storage facilities on their doorstep could be “dangerous for the whole area”.

Danestone Community Council is scared that a blaze at a second proposed site, near the Tesco Extra, could cause a “major disaster” due to its proximity to the supermarket’s petrol station.

Their concerns come after a similar development in Liverpool took hours to extinguish following a fire four years ago.

But despite this risk, they argue that many locals living just metres away have no idea about the proposal.

The location of the proposed 70MW battery storage facility at Danestone
The location of the proposed 70MW battery storage facility at Danestone. Image: Anesco

Anesco wants to construct a 70MW battery energy storage system (BESS) next to the Persley waste water treatment plant.

It’s the second battery storage site that has been earmarked for the area.

Persley Croft BESS Ltd has lodged plans for a similar development at the former piggery next to the RGS Hutchison and Sons scrap yard just up the A92.

Both sites would connect to the existing SSEN Persley Grid substation on Station Road and could be in operation for 40 years.

Fire and ‘toxic’ fumes fears at battery storage site

Danestone Community Council member Sarah-Jane Foxen said the potential fire risk was a big concern for the group.

They are especially worried about a gas pipe that runs under the site.

“Anesco say that if there is a fire they will just let this burn which is very concerning considering we’ve got a gas pipe, water pipe and petrol station nearby.

“The whole road would be shut down.”

Danestone Community Council members Sarah-Jane Foxen, Laura Davison and Kathryn Duncan.
Danestone Community Council members Sarah-Jane Foxen, Laura Davison and Kathryn Duncan. Image: Kenny Elrick/DC Thomson

Fellow community councillor Kathryn Duncan added: “I fear it is dangerous for the whole area.

“It won’t be manned so no-one will be there to stop a fire.

“Who is going to raise the alarm?”

Kathryn also voiced her concern about “toxic fumes” that could potentially be created during a blaze.

“Some areas have been evacuated because of this,” she stated.

‘We’ll have a bunch of people with tinnitus or hearing problems’

The community councillors also fear the site will create a noise nuisance for those living nearby.

They worry an annoying buzz will be loud and clear, especially in the evenings.

A generic image of a battery energy storage system that could be built at Danestone. Image: Anesco

Sarah-Jane said: “I did ask Anesco how noisy it would be with rain hitting off the containers, I don’t think that would be very soothing.

“We’ll have a bunch of people with tinnitus or hearing problems.

“And there will be no benefit to residents here, apart from some containers that we get to look at.”

The 50MW Dunsinane battery storage facility in Dundee. Image supplied by Sarah-Jane Foxen

The dedicated community councillor recently visited the £20 million 50MW battery storage facility in Dundee.

She wanted to get an idea of what such a facility would look and sound like for herself.

Following her trip, she said a “consistent machine noise” was emitted from the Dundee site.

‘It could cause a major disaster’

The Bridge of Don residents fear having two battery storage sites in Persley will change the character of the peaceful residential area.

Kathryn suggested the developers should have looked at placing the facility in the city’s empty industrial estates instead of the “ridiculous” proposed spot.

But to her surprise, the community councillor revealed many of those living nearby had “no idea” about the plans.

The proposed battery storage facility would be built next to the Persley waterworks treatment works. Image: Kirstie Topp/DC Thomson

“People didn’t know about it and they live right next door,” she said.

Kathryn noted the proposed 70MW facility could be built on land that could potentially flood.

And any overflow running down from the neighbouring scrap dealers could also create an unwanted problem.

The battery storage site sits near the RGS Hutchison and Sons scrap yard. Image: Kirstie Topp/DC Thomson

Kathryn explained: “The scrap dealers opposite the site used to be used as a dump for mills and waste was landfilled there.

“As far as we know there has been no attempt to see what’s actually in the land and if that could react with anything that’s in these batteries.

“It could cause a major disaster, the environment around the Don would be completely devastated.”

What does Anesco say about it?

The solar energy firm argues the storage facility is needed as coal and gas power stations are phased out from Britain’s energy system.

BESS facilities store and release energy generated from renewable sources such as wind and solar farms.

They help to support the increasing demand for low carbon technology in the UK.

Danestone Community Council made this flyer to inform residents about the plans. Image: Danestone Community Council

Storage sites also release power to the grid when there is a demand for it.

Anesco also claim the risk of fire from the batteries would be “relatively low” but could be shut down remotely if needed.

Each storage cabinet will have an automatic heat and fire detection system to curb any potential disasters.

What’s next for the Danestone battery storage plans?

Sarah admitted she has spent days reading through the documents for the Persley development and has a whopping 50 questions for Anesco.

While she doesn’t expect a reply from the firm, she will add them to the community council’s objection to the Scottish Government.

She has even asked Scottish ministers to come up to site and see it before making a final decision.

Sarah feared that if this was approved it would allow more to come in the future. “We won’t be the oil capital of Europe anymore, we’ll be the capital of BESS.”

A site plan of the proposed battery storage facility next to the waste water treatment works. Image: Anesco

Due to the proposed capacity of the site, the plans have been submitted to the Scottish Government for determination.

Any sites larger than 50MW have to go through the Scottish Government, but Aberdeen City Council will be asked to comment as part of the process.

You can view the plans for the battery storage site here.


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