Rob Gandy, Senior Planning Consultant at Enzygo, looks at the growth of commercial battery storage facilities in the UK.
Battery storage, or battery energy storage systems (BESS), are devices that enable energy from renewables, like solar and wind, to be stored and then released, or draw energy from the National Grid when demand is low and supply is high. Stored energy can be released when required in periods of higher demand, or during periods of low wind or low levels of light.
Battery energy storage provides a key source of flexibility to help address some of the challenges associated with the transition to a low-carbon electricity sector, also taking into consideration the rising use of electric vehicles and the need for charging points.
In April 2022 RenewableUK, the trade association for the UK’s renewable power industries, announced that the total capacity of commercial energy storage projects in operation, under construction, consented and in the UK planning system stood at 32.1GW, which is almost double the total capacity recorded by RenewableUK’s in 2021, where the capacity totalled 16.1GW.
Accordingly, the deployment and utilisation of BESS is growing at an unprecedented rate, helping to future proof the UK’s energy system, and creating the low carbon infrastructure needed to power more of our lives with clean and reliable energy.
The British Energy Security Strategy, April 2022, details how the UK Government will encourage all forms of flexibility with sufficient large-scale, long-duration electricity storage to balance the overall energy system by developing appropriate policy to enable investment.
In July 2021 the UK government removed barriers limiting the size of battery storage projects in England and Wales to galvanize investment in the sector, and this removal of energy storage from the NSIP regime means local planning authorities now determine whether battery projects of 50 MW and above are consented, rather than the Secretary of State, which was a longer and more expensive process, meaning battery storage projects can now be far larger in capacity than ever before.
A capable and consistent energy supply is vital for economic growth. This is particularly relevant as we face a period of increased energy uncertainty and costs due to global geo-political factors, with the issue of energy security becoming a headline topic.
Locally based power balancing facilities are highly efficient, ensuring the avoidance of transmission losses, and helping to meet the ongoing increase in demand nationally for electricity. Furthermore, a combination of an increase in heating and transport systems becoming electrified, and peak demand expected to rise sharply in the near future mean that significant constraints on the electricity network assets are expected.
Enzygo have successfully secured planning permission on a range of commercial battery projects, and currently have submitted applications to be determined for facilities of circa 200MW (with clients proposing ever larger developments). Accordingly, we are well experienced in the preparation and submission of battery storage schemes that support the renewable energy commitments of the country, to achieve zero carbon by 2050.
The ability to connect to a suitable and viable point of connection is the defining factor in the location of energy storage facilities. We work closely with our clients at an early stage of a scheme’s development to ensure we can offer our planning support and experience to progress schemes through the planning process.
Enzygo have been able to demonstrate that proposed battery storage developments are consistent with existing planning policy guidance at national and local levels. Due to the multi-disciplinary focus of the business, we can supplement the planning application with robust in-house assessments relating to drainage and flood risk, land contamination, noise, landscape, ecology, arboriculture, and air pollution. We have secured consents in Green Belt locations, having demonstrated the very special circumstances required for energy facilities.
Our clients are revisiting existing battery sites, and if sufficient grid capacity is available, are submitting additional applications to capture spare capacity and increase revenue.
If you are looking to progress a BESS application, or require specialist advice on any planning matter, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Senior Planning Consultant,
See the Insider article – https://www.insidermedia.com/experts/yorkshire/securing-a-positive-battery-storage-planning-permission