In recent months, applicant Reliance Energy Ltd submitted plans for 16 generators on land at Mill Hill, in the North West Industrial Estate, near Peterlee.
The flexible energy generation process, known as ‘Flexgen’, aims to provide power to meet periods of peak demand and reduce power cuts.
As the application is classed as a major development, it was reported to Durham County Council’s Central and East Planning Committee on July 9.
All gas generators will be housed in 3.5m high containers with additional mounted equipment, including 10-metre high exhaust pipes.
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In action, the development would provide 34MW of power with gas fed to the site from a nearby mains pipe.
It will also run for up to 4,000 hours per year and will spring into action whenever needed by the National Grid.
During consultation, Peterlee Town Council and Haswell Parish Council objected on the grounds of potential harmful emissions, noise and disturbance.
Easington Parish Council also raised concerns about the noise impact on the surrounding area.
However, councillors heard that the containers holding the generators help to reduce noise.
Council officers also stressed the facility would be kept in check by an environmental permit – which is needed before operations can start.
While there were minor concerns about noise, councillors pushed through the plans with little debate.
A statement from Reliance Energy Ltd, presented in committee papers, said the purpose of the development includes “keeping lights on” both nationally and in the North East.
It reads: “They [the generators] also do this a regional level by making the local energy distribution network less inclined to fail by generating the power closer to where local consumers are actually based.
“This improvement in local energy network reliability of supply is particularly important in the North East where outages are a known issue.”
As part of planning conditions attached to the proposal, applicants have agreed to carry out works to reduce the impact on the loss of green space.
This includes tree and hedgerow planting and paying the council £40,294 for “off-site biodiversity mitigation works”.