MASSIVE battery storage units - capable of supplying up to 100,000 homes for an hour - may be installed next to a York electricity sub-station to help in the battle against climate change.

A planning application has been submitted to City of York Council for about 25 battery units, each contained within a steel shipping container-style structure, to go on land alongside the sub-station off Hull Road in Osbaldwick.

Applicant UK Battery Storage Ltd says in a supporting document that the aim is to provide rapid-response back-up to the National Grid as it tries to decarbonise and safeguard the UK electricity supply.

It says it would have the potential to supply up to 50MW of electrical power into the National Grid - enough to supply as many as 100,000 homes at certain times of day -for a period of up to an hour when needed.

It says it would help to ‘buffer’ the National Grid against variations in generation as renewable generators respond to varying amounts of sunlight and wind.

The document says main substations which can accommodate such electrical capacity are very limited in number and the Osbaldwick one is the only location which has been identified within the York council area with the potential to do so.

It argues that the proposal will bring wider benefits in terms of adding resilience to the electricity grid along with associated socio-economic benefits, and it will also create local employment and bring an innovative high technology project to York. It says these significant benefits need to be weighed carefully against the potential impacts on the Green Belt, and the proposal would see the temporary and reversible development of only a small area of arable land and would be mitigated by screening planting and earthworks.

“It is therefore considered that the benefits of the proposed development outweigh any potential harm caused by the temporary and reversible development of a small part of the Green Belt," the document says.

“The proposed development would be temporary in nature, with consent being sought for an operational period of 20 years, after which the site would be decommissioned and restored to its current state, subject to the provisions of any planning consent.

“The proposed electrical storage containers would have a maximum height of 3.5 metres. It is proposed that the storage containers and other units on the site would be light grey or light green in colour.

“The site would be screened with bunding and native tree planting, which would have the added effect of providing further screening of the existing substation.The site occupies an area of farmland which was previously used to grow Christmas trees but which is currently in arable production.”

The document adds that within 10 years, energy storage facilities are expected to be commonplace and form an integral part of the National Grid’s ability to maintain electricity supply within the UK.