Time is running out for farmers and landowners who want to host a large-scale power generation or battery storage scheme, with the deadline for Capacity Market qualification looming.
According to Hugh Taylor, chief executive of independent power consultant Roadnight Taylor, each year National Grid holds an auction to award long-term contracts for the provision of reliable capacity. And to qualify for that auction, developers must submit sites for prequalification by a certain date – usually late August or September. “It is yet to be announced exactly when the 2018 deadline will be, but as the competition is only annual, developers are keen to get any new projects included,” says Mr Taylor.
However, to apply developers must have secured exclusive rights with the landowner and have accepted a connection offer from the network operator. “It takes up to 65 working days – or three months – for network operators to produce an offer for grid connection,” explains Mr Taylor. “It then usually takes another month for landowners to reach heads of terms with a developer, so anyone with a suitable site should be looking to have their application submitted to the network operator as soon as possible – April or May at the very latest.”
To identify whether their site is suitable, it’s vital to take professional advice, he warns. “It’s not just down to planning credentials or proximity to overhead lines. And with network operators now bringing in up-front fees, it’s vital to get your application right to maximise your chances of success at minimal cost.”
Roadnight Taylor is offering a ‘Stop-Go’ study, where landowners pay from £350+VAT to ascertain whether a site has genuine potential. It can then submit grid applications for viable sites on a no-win, no-fee basis.
“Grid capacity is allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, so landowners should always seek to get ahead of competing local sites,” says Mr Taylor. “And right now, those interested in leasing an acre or two need to get in early. If a project is delayed until National Grid’s 2019 Capacity Market – assuming it holds one – it will be significantly less attractive to developers.”