Louise Leyland, associate at PWA Planning, explains some of the common energy storage land and planning obstacles and why having a grid connection offer is the first step to success.
The government’s recent ‘net zero carbon emissions by 2050’ pledge has brought the issue of land availability for renewable energy projects into sharp focus.
There is undoubtedly a growing clamour for sites that are suitable for solar, wind, energy from waste, and other renewable technologies.
But key to the success of the renewable energy industry is going to be grid-balancing technologies, allowing energy to be stored and supplied to the grid when it is needed most.
This requirement is what’s driving demand for battery energy storage sites and many landowners are benefitting from striking deals with energy storage providers.
But there are many factors that determine whether your land is suitable as a location for energy storage.
This is the most important factor in whether your land is suitable for energy storage facilities. Given the very nature of energy storage as a grid-balancing technology, sites need to be close to a grid connection, such as an electricity substation or other grid infrastructure, to make it financially viable.
Having a grid connection offer secured from a distribution network operator (DNO) is the first step to this. As an energy storage planning consultant, we would typically become involved after this has been secured, although PWA can put landowners in touch with energy storage developers who can assess the potential of a site in terms of grid capacity.
Special designations that protect the landscape, such as National Parks or Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, can be a barrier to securing planning consent for energy storage schemes.
If your site is in the Green Belt, this can also prove tricky, although PWA has had several planning successes in UK locations by successfully demonstrating that very special circumstances exist to outweigh any harm to the Green Belt.
Proximity to residential properties
Concerns over noise and visual impact to neighbouring properties is another big consideration for local planning authorities when deciding whether to permit energy storage schemes.
Misunderstanding of the technology or misguided safety concerns can often create local opposition. However, these issues can typically be overcome through careful consultation with local stakeholders.
How PWA Planning can assist your energy storage scheme
We have become specialists in seeking planning permission for energy storage projects having secured multiple planning consents across the UK. We can help you identify the necessary supporting assessment work required – saving time and money.