Battery Planning Changes: Enabling Deployment in the Post-Subsidy World

Batteries have encountered a number of hurdles recently, with the capacity market suspension increasing uncertainty for developers and de-rating factors cutting revenues. In this blog, Head of Markets for Asset Optimisation, Boz Bozhkov explores the proposed changes to planning rules for batteries and how they could change the deployment landscape for the better.

Its great to see government showing the right intent and trying to help battery storage deploy.

A new consultation has outlined proposals which would mean that all batteries, regardless of size, would only need to have planning applications approved by local councils. Currently, battery projects over 50MW have to gain consent from the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIP) regime.

By reducing barriers to deployment like this, we hope to see more batteries on the system, sooner.

Its not just standalone projects which will benefit either. Storage co-located with generation will also be subject to the same changes to planning rules, provided that neither the generation, nor the storage asset are individually greater than 50MW.

It’s also worth noting that the current plans only apply to projects in England. Given the wealth of generation, which could benefit from co-location in both Scotland and Wales, and networks which would benefit from batteries solving constraints issues, devolved administrations should quickly adopt the new rules too.

In spite of this apparent progress, it does make it all the more disappointing that the new rules have not been extended to onshore wind projects. New analysis and reports continually show that onshore wind would deliver power at the lowest levelised cost of electricity (LCOE), helping to bring down consumer bills. As the deployment of the technology continues to be curtailed by its exclusion from Contracts for Difference (CfD) auctions and those opposed to its impacts on landscapes (NIMBYism), these proposals would have offered the beginnings of a route back into the energy mix for the technology.

Allowing new onshore wind to be deployed would go a long way to helping bridge the future capacity gap – in a low-cost, low-carbon, secure way – that’s now being anticipated after the Moorside, Wylfa and Oldbury nuclear projects were put on hold; not to mention the way in which the recent capacity market suspension could accelerate the closure of coal plants.

Co-location with storage could also allow such plant to deliver on a flatter profile, with batteries helping to smooth the peaks and troughs associated with intermittent generation, reducing the operational and financial burden to balance a low-carbon system. These kinds of sites will also be key in paving the way for renewables to enter the Capacity Market.

More than that, battery assets can also help balance the grid regardless of whether or not they are co-located, through Short-Term Operating Reserve (STOR), Firm Frequency Response (FFR), the Balancing Mechanism or the Capacity Market for example.

These additional revenues are available to both co-located and stand-alone projects and will be essential in helping renewables continue to deploy in the post-subsidy world.

To find out more about revenue streams available to your project, contact our Asset Optimisation team.


About the author

Bozhidar is responsible for analysing market opportunities to help asset owners maximise revenues. His role includes the continued development of processes and systems to enable customers to always optimise their positions and he also liaises with National Grid and DNOs to ensure access to all relevant opportunities. Bozhidar joined SmartestEnergy from KiWi Power where he was Head of UK Operations. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Northeastern University, USA and a Master of Science in Economics and Policy of Energy and the Environment from University College London.

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