Is battery storage the answer ?
In the energy industry a lot is being said about the development in battery storage technology. After the fall in renewable incentives a lot of focus is being given to co-locating battery storage alongside existing generating plant, particularly wind and solar.
While the theory is sound, co-location is not the simple proposition it first seems. On top of technology choice, developers and operators need to consider the following:
- Land Rights – new rights are likely to be required for siting any ancillary equipment alongside existing plant.
- Planning Permission – in the majority of cases a new permission will be required. If a Local Planning Authority can be persuaded to allow something under an existing consent make sure this does not impact on existing contracts and support payments.
- Grid connection – how and where an export connection is metered will have contractual and cost implications to the new and existing installations.
- Support – if a battery reduces the level of support for the existing generator under FiTs or ROCS any potential commercial gain can be drastically overshadowed.
- Offtake – existing PPA agreements will need to be reviewed to account for the change in nature of the supply.
- Finance – consent from any third party lender will likely be required for any changes to the current situation.
- Insurance – will existing insurance policies cover the addition of a battery? Certainly, a declaration of any changes needs to be made.
All of the above can be overcome with careful consideration, but finding the balance can be difficult. In our view the wider contractual complexities are as limiting as clear guidance on technology and batteries are not yet the practical panacea some might suggest. Specialist support should be considered in many areas if considering such a project.