ENERGY STORAGE

Exagen granted planning permission for 1GWh UK battery project

January 15, 2024

UK renewable energy developer Exagen has been granted planning permission for a 500MW / 1GWh grid-scale battery energy storage project on land to the northeast of Earl Shilton, Leicestershire.

Once built, the Normanton Energy Reserve will be capable of powering 235,000 homes for two hours – the equivalent of 80% of the homes in Leicestershire – “making it one of the largest battery storage projects to be granted planning permission in the UK,” a Exagen statement said.

The £270 million battery site will be directly connected to the National Grid at a new substation.

The plans include provision for 45 per cent of the 19 acre site of land to be used to “improve biodiversity”, the statement added. Normanton Millennium Wood will be extended and there will be new wildflower meadows and land for beekeeping, along with new hedgerows and perimeter tree planting. “The project will boost biodiversity habitat units by over 25 per cent, compared to the existing baseline,” the statement said.

Exagen will take ownership of the land and will establish a dedicated community fund to spend on improvements in the local area, building on its sponsorship, since June 2023, of the nearby Thurlaston Junior Football Club. The start of construction will see £250,000 made available for local projects and groups and, once operational, £50,000 will be added each year of the project’s operational life of up to 40 years – amounting to around £4million. This could be applied to supporting local groups, community capital projects, or skills and training, depending on local need.

Jeremy Littman, CEO at Exagen Development, said: ““For the UK to achieve its 2050 net zero target at the lowest possible cost, there needs to be an increase in electricity storage capacity to balance renewable energy generation. As more renewables are deployed, larger battery projects like Normanton will be required. It is vital that they are developed sensitively and in partnership with the local communities that host them. We’ve been guided by our local stakeholders to achieve consent for a significant infrastructure project that is unobtrusive and balances national need with local benefit. We’ll work now to deliver this project into operation in that same spirit of partnership, and as an active and useful member of the local community.”