Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Questions (2282)

Michael Moynihan


2282. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if his Department has researched the safety of battery storage facilities; if there are guidelines issued in relation to such developments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33971/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

I am advised that battery Energy Storage System (BESS) projects are new in Ireland, but have been successfully and safely built in many countries around the world including the UK and other European countries.

As regards the safety of large-scale battery storage facilities for the purposes of electricity generation, this is a matter variously for the builders, owners and/or operators of such a facility, having regard to the requirements of relevant legislative regimes, including health and safety, fire safety and planning. I am also advised by EirGrid that grid storage systems are designed and built to comply with well-established international standards that validate that the safety protection is appropriate to the intended use.

I am advised that there are no specific Irish or EU guidelines covering battery storage facilities and that they are covered by health and safety regulations. The local/planning authority has a significant role in relation to battery storage facility developments in its capacity as planning authority, building authority and fire authority. Fire safety at battery storage facilities is for the planning and fire safety regimes. A battery storage development is obliged to be developed in accordance with relevant building control regulations and fire safety legislation. Whether via the local authority and/or the An Bord Pleanála process, such developments will require planning permission. I have no direct function in planning policy matters.

Question No. 2283 answered with Question No. 2231.