UK govt proposes changes to facilitate energy storage planning

Mill Farm energy storage site. Source: Anesco (anesco.co.uk)

October 16 (Renewables Now) - The UK Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is proposing certain changes that will make the planning process for energy storage projects less costly.

BEIS proposes that electricity storage, apart from pumped hydro, is carved out from the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIP) regime in England and Wales, meaning that such projects, regardless of their size, would apply through local planning processes. At present, there are capacity thresholds in both England and Wales above which projects are required to go through the National planning process.

A consultation on the exemption proposal was published on Tuesday and it will run until December 10, 2019.

The Renewable Energy Association (REA) said that it is surprised and pleased by the proposal.

“At present most energy storage project planning applications are sized at or around 49.9 MW in England where the 50 MW threshold is in place, but in Wales where the threshold is much higher, they vary in size usually at around 70 MW. This shows the major impact the planning system threshold is having on projects,” explained Frank Gordon, Head of Policy at the REA. He further noted that the proposed change should significantly reduce the relevant pre-construction costs for larger projects.

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