Ofgem have released new guidance relating to how to ensure the integration of energy storage into existing ROC and FiT accredited schemes, without jeopardizing existing subsidy payments. This comes at a great time for owners of operational renewable assets who are looking to increase revenues, as it makes provision for intermittent renewable energy sources to supply targeted energy when demand exists.
At first glance this appears to be great news for the renewable industry as a whole, however Ofgem state themselves that the guidance is not exhaustive and the principle of energy storage at existing ROC and FiT accredited schemes will still be assessed on a case by case basis. As such it is safe to say that careful consideration will be required from any asset owner considering this approach. Care must be taken to ensure that the metering set up is correct and that Ofgem are notified in a timely and correct manner with adequate evidence to ensure that operating schemes accreditation is not compromised.
Allowance for the future retrofit of battery Storage infrastructure is highly unlikely to have been included within an original planning application and ensuring planning compliance will therefore be essential. In the majority of cases we envisage that retro fitted battery storage schemes will be co-located within the consented red line boundaries of existing schemes, thereby only requiring an amendment to the existing planning permission via either a Non or Minor Material Amendment or S.73 Variation of Condition application. Careful consideration in these cases will be required to ensure that any variations to the existing consents don't conflict with the scope or operational planning conditions of the existing consent such as an ecology management plan for example. Where this is not possible and the battery storage needs to be standalone to the main site then it is likely that the addition of energy storage infrastructure to any operational renewable scheme will require a new separate planning application.
Aardvark are working with a number of their innovative clients on this matter, to ensure that the process is administered correctly and the correct planning is secured, and feel that anyone who is considering re-financing or selling a renewable asset should consider energy storage as a means of increasing revenue.
As well as energy storage, lifetime extension is also worth pursuing. Most renewable energy projects were given planning consent for a limited time period relating to the FiTs or ROCs. Aardvark have been working with renewable asset managers throughout 2017 to secure extensions to the operational life time of renewable assets through the planning process, ensuring that renewable energy will continue to be generated from proven operational assets.
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