Energy storage has continued its reign as one of the most popular renewable energy diversifications and the sector is predicted to continue its growth in 2018/19.
It was a relatively new concept in 2016 when the sector began to boom. Luckily for farmers and landowners, this coincided with a reduction in the cost of the equipment, leading many to diversify in to the sector.
While many have benefited from leasing their own land to developers’ battery storage projects, others have enjoyed breaking free from the restraints of their current grid connection capabilities and using energy more efficiently.
For many who produce more energy from renewables projects such as solar and wind than they consume on-farm, storing the energy can provide the perfect solution and can save on energy costs in the long run.
“Battery storage is like a grain store,” says Dr Simon Le Blond, consultant at Swanbarton.
“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,” he says.
Mark Newton of Fisher German adds with 500MW of battery storage already in the pipeline, green energy demand is only likely to increase as focus on electric vehicles grows.
He says: “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.
Mr Newton adds although the cost of such a scheme can add up to about £500,000 per MW, the payback for a developer can be between five to seven years, but it is 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.
“The UK has a target of low carbon generation meeting 85 per cent of our energy requirements by 2032,” says director of EnergyNow expo 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.”
Farmers may be able to apply for a RDPE Countryside Productivity Scheme grant of 40 per cent of the total project cost of renewable energy and battery storage technology projects.