Break free from rural energy restraints with energy storage

Energy storage could provide an opportunity for farms to ‘break free’ from the restraints of their current grid connection capabilities and use energy more efficiently.

“Battery storage is like a grain store,” explained Dr Simon Le Blond, consultant at Swanbarton, when speaking at the Energy Now Expo last week in Telford. “It allows the producer to store energy produced on farm for use or sale at the most opportune time.”

As well as enabling the management of ‘peak power charges’, battery storage could also help to overcome grid and network restraints in rural locations, that may have previously limited diversification, or expansion of the farm enterprise.

“Where battery technology is co-located with an existing renewable energy scheme, energy storage can help to balance energy demand on the grid, and to save money on purchasing electricity.”

Mark Newton of Fisher German added that with 500MW of battery storage already in the pipeline, green energy demand is only likely to increase as focus on electric vehicles grows.

“There are a number of large-scale battery storage developers who are looking for farms with one or two acres of land for projects up to 50MWs to host these types of projects, and paying rents of up to £150,000 per year,” he explains.

He added that although the cost of such a scheme can add up to around £500,000 per MW, the payback for a developer can be between five to seven years, but it’s vital that farmers who are approached get professional advice at an early stage from a specialist energy surveyor on the commercial terms for a lease.

A total of 3,134 delegates attended the event across the two days, showing that the demand for renewables isn’t over yet.

“The UK has a target of low carbon generation meeting 85% of our energy requirements by 2032,” explains event director, David Jacobmeyer. “Alongside the numerous renewable technologies that can contribute towards this target, battery storage will continue to be an exciting area of development, particularly for the agricultural sector.

“The energy storage theatre was our most popular feature again this year,” he added.

Also discussed at the event was the RDPE Countryside Productivity Scheme, where grants of up to 40% of the total project cost are available for renewable energy and battery storage technology projects. More information can be found on the Gov.uk website.

The Energy Now Expo will return to Telford, Shropshire on 6 -7 February 2019.

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About The Author

John Swire - Deputy editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer as well as responsibility for the Agronomist and Arable Farmer and Farm Business websites. After 17 years milking cows on the family farm John started writing about agriculture in 1998 and has since written for a variety of publications and has developed a wide circle of contacts within the industry. When not working John is a season ticket holder at Stoke City and also of late has become a fitness freak, listing cycling, swimming and walking as his exercises of choice.