ARKANSAS, Oct 22 (Future Headlines)- NextEra Energy Resources’ Skeleton Creek Energy Center in Northwest Oklahoma, which includes wind farms and plans for a large solar power and battery storage system, is facing opposition from local residents. While NextEra has been investing heavily in renewable energy projects in the state, the expansion into battery storage has raised concerns about safety, the environment, and land use.
NextEra Energy Resources, through its subsidiaries, claims to have invested more than $7.6 billion in Oklahoma since 2003. This investment includes the development of 18 operational wind energy centers in the state.
The next phase of the Skeleton Creek Energy Center involves the construction of a 200 MW solar power facility along with a 4-hour battery energy storage system. These lithium-ion battery systems have faced concerns regarding safety and potential fire risks.
At a county commissioner’s meeting, local residents expressed concerns about the proximity of the solar panels to an airfield, battery storage safety, water usage, and environmental impact.
There are concerns about the safety of lithium-ion batteries used in energy storage systems. Lithium-ion batteries can experience thermal runaway, a chain reaction that can lead to overheating, fires, and explosions when damaged or exposed to high temperatures.
California, a leader in renewable energy, has implemented regulations requiring emergency response and emergency plans for battery storage facilities. Similar regulations and safety measures are under consideration in other regions to address safety concerns.
Some researchers have suggested that large solar farm installations could affect local weather patterns and rainfall due to changes in land reflectiveness. This impact raises environmental concerns.
A petition opposing the Skeleton Creek Solar project was presented to county and city leaders. Concerns raised include environmental hazards, fire risks, decreased property values, and the destruction of fertile crop ground.
The debate around the safety and environmental impact of large solar and battery storage installations continues, with opposition from local communities and growing awareness of potential hazards.
The expansion of renewable energy projects, including solar and battery storage systems, is encountering opposition from some local communities due to concerns about safety, environmental impact, and land use. While the renewable energy industry is advancing, addressing these concerns and implementing appropriate safety measures is crucial for its continued growth and acceptance.
Editing by Sarah White