Exeter Main Battery Limited is proposing to build a 57 MW Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) facility on land north of Exeter, on a piece of land east of Poltimore Road and west of the M5 motorway. This project is seeking consent to be installed across an area of approximately 5 hectares and the site will be connecting into the National Grid at Exeter Substation.
BESS facilities are important infrastructure that enable energy from renewable sources, such as solar and wind energy to be stored and then released when the National Grid requires power. BESS facilities are essential to facilitate the transition to a low carbon economy and achieve the UK’s goal of net-zero carbon by 2050, as they enable homes and businesses to be powered by renewable energy even at times when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing.
Through our initial discussions with local stakeholders and the community we have received a number of recurring queries and comments about the proposals on a range of topics. We have collated these into a Frequently Asked Questions summary page.
on land east of Politmore Road and west of the M5 motorway, north of Exeter
being developed by BayWa r.e. UK Ltd.
About Exeter Main Battery Limited
Exeter Main Battery Limited is a special purpose vehicle (SPV) wholly owned by BayWa r.e. UK Limited. BayWa r.e. is a leading UK-based renewable energy developer, service provider, distributor and energy solutions provider, and is actively shaping the future of energy through all project stages: from site identification to commissioning. Our UK and Ireland offices are based in Milton Keynes, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Cork.
The proposal is for a 57 MW Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) with associated ancillary infrastructure. Work is underway progressing the planning application for the project to be submitted to the East Devon District Council. Submission is expected by the end of 2023. Detailed surveys and reports from specialist consultants are being produced alongside detailed engineering designs to create a comprehensive application.
The proposal will be seeking consent for a period of 40 years and the project will be fully decommissioned at the end of this period, returning the land to agricultural use.
Further details on specific surveys will be released upon completion.
Project Location Map
A detailed site search was undertaken and multiple sites were discounted for planning reasons, resulting in this site being identified as suitable, due to the following criteria:
- Good access from the public road;
- Grid capacity available nearby;
- Contribution to East Devon District Climate Change Strategy objectives;
- In motorway corridor to avoid isolated tranquil countryside locations;
- Edge of urban location, which is preferable due to grid connection and access to fire services.
To inform the design, surveys and assessments have been conducted on the site, considering the following:
- Habitats and plants;
- Great crested newts.
Most of the site is cattle-grazed grassland of low botanical diversity. Hedgerows with ditches border the northern and southern site boundaries.
The results from the site visit surveys have been used to ensure the most ecologically important areas are protected, which includes buffers alongside the hedgerows with ditches, only emergency lighting and avoiding areas of good habitat.
Initial proposed biodiversity enhancements include new sections of hedgerow along the eastern and western boundaries to improve biodiversity and provide visual screening.
Landscape and Visual
A landscape and visual appraisal (LVA) has been carried out to identify the baseline conditions of the site and surrounding area. This is used to determine the landscape and visual characteristics that might inform the design of the development proposals, including recommendations for mitigation.
This has been done through a combination of desk-based studies and visits to the site and surrounding areas.
The findings of the LVA have formed a key component of the design development, which includes protecting and retaining existing trees and hedgerows, as well as integrated new planting, amongst other suggestions.
A full Noise Impact Assessment has been conducted as part of the design process and this has concluded that given the background noise levels (primarily due to the M5 motorway) the impacts are low.
Flood risk has been a key consideration throughout the development process and a full Flood Risk Assessment and Sustainable Drainage System (SuDS) design has been prepared. A detailed assessment and drainage design will ensure that no flooding issues will occur on or off site as a result of the facility. This could include attenuation tanks or ponds.
If planning is granted, construction would take place in 2025, taking approximately 10 to 12 months, with the main construction taking place in the first 6 to 8 months. A construction traffic management plan will also be submitted as part of the planning application and any traffic management will be agreed upon with the local highway’s authority. Once operational the facility will be visited a few times a week by one van, so will not cause any changes to current traffic levels.
Through normal operations, the battery cells will degrade over time (like the battery in your phone) and will need to be replaced every few years (depending on how the battery is operated, this could be every 5-8 years). This is a simple process which can be done by hand, and the containers housing the racks of battery cells will not have to be removed and replaced. Therefore, traffic for this process will be minimal. For decommissioning at the end of the project life, the installation will be dismantled and removed over a similar timeframe to the construction period using similar vehicles, equipment and methods.
A Historic Environment Assessment has been undertaken by specialist consultants that considers the impact on designated heritage assets in the area. These have identified Poltimore House and Gardens together with the Royal Observatory Core Building, both of which are listed.
The site has been selected so that it does not result in significant impacts on the designated heritage assets in the locality. The careful siting and design considerations together with landscaping, screening and planting ensures that this development respects the historic environment.
expected in late 2023
expected in mid 2024
expected in late 2025
expected in late 2025
expected in mid 2026
Benefits of Exeter Main BESS
- Supporting governmental climate targets to reach zero net carbon emissions in 2050 by helping to supply homes with renewable energy;
- Contribution to East Devon District Council’s Climate Change Strategy objectives;
- Providing local contracting opportunities for civil works during construction;
- Working with the local community to arrange a community benefit fund.