A plan to build one of the largest battery arrays in Europe to help bring more renewables online could reportedly be at the mercy of the 400-strong membership of a Scottish golf club.
British renewables developer Apatura Energy wants to build the huge battery facility outside of Glasgow to help store excess energy from wind and solar farms.
At 560MW/1120MWh, the battery energy storage system would dwarf a 99MW/198MWh Tesla system turned on in England last year that was claimed to be the largest in Europe.
It would also be among the largest planned batteries anywhere on the continent, exceeding a 500MW/1,000MWh facility also under development in Scotland, although the country does also have a 1GW battery system in the pipeline.
However, should the project get the go-ahead from the Scottish government, it could find itself dependent on approval by the 400 voting members of the Clydebank and District Golf Club, according to a report on Thursday in The Clydebank Post.
Golf club president Stephen Welsh is quoted as saying that if Apatura “successfully secured the permissions they require and they want to go ahead, we’re then in a situation where we have to go through our due process.”
The golf club members “will decide whether to agree or disagree with leasing the land” that Apatura wants to build on, he said.
An Apatura spokesperson told Recharge: “Due to the existing legal position, Apatura are unable to provide comment on any discussions regarding the lease the land.”
The project has also come up against local opposition, with a campaign group called 'Save Our Countryside – Cochno Road' growing to over 600 members on Facebook.
Members of the group have claimed that the battery array – originally slated to be spread over 29 hectares – would be “dangerous” as well as occupying land that is the home of a “sacred druid stone”.
The Apatura spokesperson confirmed that the developer has now reduced the project's "development footprint", with the area of the battery system and associated infrastructure shrunk to 8.5 hectares.
This has not affected the storage capacity of the project, they added.
The spokesperson said that independent specialists have submitted appraisals in support of the project concerning its potential impacts on the local environment and historic or archaeological features.
Battery safety measures have also been considered to mitigate “potential hazards” of such a system, they said.
The safety of lithium-ion battery systems is an increasingly contentious topic, with local communities often afraid of the hard-to-extinguish fires that can sometimes break out as well as resulting toxic fumes.
Industry experts have also raised concerns about fires, although many say that fears are unfounded and the vast majority of utility-scale battery systems operate without incident.
The Apatura proposals will now be considered by Scotland’s Energy Consents Unit and local planning authorities.
Clydebank and District Golf Club was approached for comment.