Ireland: Kildare residents fear lithium battery storage compoundPublished by MAC on 2021-06-19
Source: Kildare Nationalist, The Sun
Lithium batteries may or may not blow up.
Kildare residents fear explosions and fires from proposed battery storage compound in Ireland’s equestrian heartland
A NEW battery storage compound set for the heart of Ireland’s racing country is “dozens of firebombs waiting to explode”, residents fear.
25 May 2021
A total of 76 containers each holding tens of thousands of cells to be used in generating renewable power are planned for farmland in rural Co Kildare.
Lithium Ion batteries can spontaneously ignite, produce enough heat to burn neighbouring batteries and produce an inferno that can’t be tackled like a normal blaze.
Calling for a fair hearing, resident Conor Maguire told the Irish Sun: “It’s like a petrol line running along the back of your house… it may or may not blow up but you’d rather not take the chance.
“We’re getting flak from people saying we’re anti-green. We’re anti being killed. It’s not the principal of it, it’s where it is. It’s madness.”
Up to 60 locals met on Monday night to discuss their opposition to the proposal.
Some 20 major studs are operating within a 5km radius of the site at Dunnstown, including the Aga Khan’s Giltown and Sallymount and Sheikh Mohammed’s Ragusa.
An Equestrian facility is next door to the site while Punchestown, Naas and Curragh racecourses are all nearby.
Mr Maguire said: “The submitted plans are for 76 enormous battery storage units, each of which houses tens of thousands of lithium-ion cells.
“There has been a troubling frequency of decimating fires linked to lithium-ion batteries that have occurred in the US, UK, South Korea and Australia.
“These are no ordinary fires due to the chemical make-up of the batteries; the blazes are not easily treated, need specialist expertise to manage and can take days to get under control.”
Strategic Power Projects Ltd wants to build the facility in Dunnstown, but locals insist they haven’t been given enough time to object to An Bord Pleanala.
This type of development would be seen as being a key part in Ireland's bid to go 70 per cent renewable energy by 2030 and residents feel they won't be getting too much support.
LOCALS RUNNING OUT OF TIME
Mr Maguire said: “The planning application was made without due correspondence to locals and when we reached out to the developer for further information, we were acerbically informed to look at the Kildare County Council website.”
Residents have until June 9th to lodge their objections.
Anywhere between 2,000-3,000 horses are kept in the area and are hugely valuable thoroughbred bloodstock.
Local veterinary sources warned about the potentially hazardous effects on animals which are the backbone of Ireland’s thriving equestrian industry.
One said: “Poisonous toxins released from a disaster here would release Cyanide, Carbon Monoxide and Fluoride gases and would cause a lot of problems such as abortions and birth defects on foals."
The batteries will be used over the coming years as back up when wind and solar energy overtake the likes of coal as most common generators of power.
Kildare County Council were contacted for comment.
Residents fear potential for fire and explosion if huge battery storage plant gets go-ahead
May 24, 2021
CONCERN about the potential for a massive fire and explosions from a huge battery storage facility planned for Dunnstown, Co Kildare has led local residents to call for the planning application for the project to be turned down.
The rural communities of Coughlanstown, Dunnstown, Dunshane, Flemington, Harristown, Mullacash, Two Mile House and surrounding areas are calling on the public to join them in opposing the planning applications for both a compound of 76 large scale battery storage units at Dunnstown and the building of a new substation.
Strategic Power Projects Limited is seeking permission from Kildare Co Council to build a facility which will encompass land in Dunnstown, at a site opposite the Dunshane Camphill Community residential home. The company has also lodged a pre-application request with An Bord Pleanala for a 220 kV substation with connection to the grid.
Concerned members of this rural borough, which lies halfway between Kilcullen and Naas, have until 9 June to lodge their objections to the development with the council.
Residents from the area have voiced deep concerns about both the short-term and the long-term ecological, hydrological, social and environmental effects of the development in the quiet, rural setting, with fire hazard and safety implications top of the list.
Spokesperson for the movement, local man Conor Maguire, said: “We wish to be very clear in our objective here. We are not opposed to the planning for sustainable energy provision, and we are keenly aware of the urgent need for reaching sustainable energy targets. However, there are real and tangible concerns within our widespread community that must be addressed, not least with regards to safety.
“The submitted plans are for 76 enormous battery storage units, each of which houses tens of thousands of lithium-ion cells.
“There has been a troubling frequency of decimating fires linked to lithium-ion batteries, that have occurred in the US, UK, South Korea and Australia. These are no ordinary fires due to the chemical make-up of the batteries; the blazes are not easily treated, need specialist expertise to manage and can take days to get under control.”
He claimed that “the planning application was made without due correspondence to locals and when we reached out to the developer for further information, we were acerbically informed to look at the Kildare Co Council website. Whilst the application was made on 6 May, the public could only access the plans on the 19th [of] May. The 9 June deadline will not be extended, which has further frustrated our apprehension,” he said.
“The immediate vicinity of the proposed Dunnstown development is a renowned local amenity, frequented on a daily basis by walkers, horse-riders, joggers and cyclists from all surrounding areas – young and old. Two Mile House GAA is located just metres away and we are concerned about the safety of youngsters travelling to and from the club, during and post development. Tranquil and biodiverse, the area is host to a rich ecology, a haven for a variety of native species spanning deer, bats, frogs, birds of prey, flowers and fauna. We want to protect all of this. The local roads are in areas single lane only; any construction traffic would raise further daily health and safety issues.
“Furthermore, the rapid onset of BESS [Battery Energy Storage System] across rural Ireland are cause for grave concern. We call on Government and the local authorities across Ireland to set clear policy on planning rules for such developments, restricting them to industrial zones, where there is less impact on rural Ireland and residential areas.”