Discover your battery storage opportunities ahead of your neighbours
This post was updated: 14 September 2022
We were delighted to be asked to contribute an article to Farming Monthly after they had seen an article by Hugh in another publication. This was first published in Farming Monthly’s digital edition – September 2017 page 41.
The rapidly changing UK energy system is creating exciting opportunities for farmers. Hosting battery storage schemes on as little as one acre of land, can offer farmers ground rents of over £100,000 per year for 15-25 year leases.
Act ahead of neighbours and independently from developers
Battery storage schemes need to connect to the electricity grid. However, capacity to import and export electricity on the grid is becoming scarce. To enjoy the incomes from battery storage, farmers must identify if they have a site with an opportunity for a viable battery storage scheme quickly and independently from any developer.
Network Operators issue grid capacity on a first-come-first-served basis. If you deliberate too long, you can lose out to a neighbouring landowner and miss out on the lucrative long-term income. If you wait for a developer to come knocking and ‘sign-up’ to their battery technology and offer straight away, you lose the ability to negotiate the best terms and rents among competing technologies (gas powered generators, for example) and competing developers, if your site is viable.
Factors which contribute to a viable battery scheme
Many factors combine to make a site viable for battery storage. The perfect site rarely exists but sites will need most of the following:
- the best sites are close to a 33,000-volt (33 kV) circuit and having a primary substation (typically 33/11 kV volts) or bulk supply point (typically 33/132 kV) nearby is preferable
- a small scheme of up to 5 MW typically needs an 11 kV connection
- for an 11 kV connection, the site should ideally be under one kilometre from the primary substation
- for batteries, there needs to be the same amount of import capacity as export capacity available on the grid
- a storage scheme will need space from as small as a 40-foot shipping container up to two acres
- brown field sites are preferable including areas around machinery or grain stores and livestock housing
- no rail, river or large road crossings between the site and the point of grid connection
- access rights to the site
- no landscape designations such as AONB, SSSIs, battlefields and National Parks
- no flood risk
- secluded location, ideally not overlooked by dwellings or public access
- relatively flat land with good underlying structural ground conditions.
Given most sites will have limitations, it is important that farmers commission an independent assessment of their sites before committing to grid and planning application costs or professional fees. You must ensure you aren’t wasting your money on unviable sites.
Roadnight Taylor offers Stop/Go feasibility studies where we look at local grid factors, and work closely with the engineers at the Network Operators to establish whether there is likely to be a cost-effective grid connection, at what scale and for which technology. Battery storage may not be suitable for your local grid, whereas gas gensets or solar technologies could be.
If there isn’t any possibility of a battery or power generation scheme on your site, you have invested very little. If there is potential and you are ahead of your neighbours, you could have much to gain.