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Bilfinger GVA has application to the Planning Inspectorate accepted for Examination

Monday, 23 November 2015

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Bilfinger GVA’s Planning team in Cardiff has had an application to the Planning Inspectorate for a Development Consent Order (under the Planning Act 2008) for a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project in Wales accepted for Examination.

The application is for the construction and operation of a £160m pumped storage facility with an output capacity of 99.9MW at the Glyn Rhonwy and Chwarel Fawr quarries, near Llanberis in North Wales.

As this exceeds the 50MW threshold in the Planning Act 2008, the scheme is classified as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) requiring the grant of a Development Consent Order (DCO) from the Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change.

This is the Cardiff team’s second DCO application in Wales. The first was the proposed 240MW power generation enhancement scheme at Port Talbot Steelworks for Tata Steel UK Ltd, a decision on which is expected in December.

The team’s latest DCO has been submitted on behalf of Snowdonia Pumped Hydro Ltd (SPH) and comprises two 1,300,000 m3 reservoirs linked by a 1.6km underground pipeline via a 99.9MW capacity turbine hall approximately 70m below ground level. The system uses electricity to pump water from a lower reservoir to a higher reservoir. When required, the water is then released through a hydro-turbine to generate electricity to meet sudden spikes in consumer electricity demand. This cycle of pumping and generating repeats on a daily basis. The Glyn Rhonwy facility would be expected to have an operational life of around 125 years and support up to 30 full time local jobs. Hundreds of workers would be required during construction. The scheme is the first of a series of schemes that SPH parent company Quarry Battery Company intends to develop throughout the UK.

Electricity storage facilities are recognised in National Policy Statement EN-1 and in National Grid’s ‘Future Energy Scenarios’ as an important part of the toolkit for balancing the intermittency of renewable energy generation.

Ben Lewis, Bilfinger GVA Director in Cardiff leading the planning aspects of the project, commented: “The need for grid-scale storage is now firmly on the UK Government’s agenda. As the UK moves towards an increased proportion of its electricity being generated from renewable sources, there is an increasing requirement for grid-scale batteries to balance supply and demand across the grid. Pumped storage is one of the most efficient ways to provide these batteries. We are delighted to be involved in such an exciting project."

The application was submitted on 21st October 2015, and the Planning Inspectorate confirmed that it had been accepted for Examination on 17th November 2015. It is anticipated that the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change’s decision will be issued by February / March 2017.

Bilfinger GVA is working with a legal and consultancy team including Burgess Salmon and AECOM on the project.

For further information, contact: Ben Lewis, Director, Bilfinger GVA, ben.lewis@gva.co.uk or on 029 2024 8911