Landmark OFGEM decision fuels new solar-power & energy storage market

Anesco energy storage and solar power - a winning combination
Anesco energy storage and solar power – a powerful combination

Renewable power developer Anesco has become the first commercial solar farm operator in the country to retain accreditation under the Renewables Obligation (RO) scheme for solar farms that supply storage batteries directly – a landmark decision which removes one of the key barriers to deploying storage in the UK.

Anesco’s solar farm in Northampton, which is co-located with battery storage under one grid connection, was the first site in the UK to qualify for ROCs. This was closely followed by a further two Anesco sites in Chesterfield and Stratford-upon-Avon.

Each 5MW site is hooked up to a 1.1MWh battery, which stores energy generated during the day and releases it at peak times onto the grid, helping to stabilise the system.

OFGEM’s decision under the RO scheme means that operators of the sites can receive ROCs (Renewables Obligation Certificates) – which is support paid to accredited renewable energy generators – for the electricity they generate and supply to the battery as well as the remaining electricity they export to the grid.

Luke Hargreaves, OFGEM’s head of renewables, commented:“Battery storage can assist with system balancing and save consumers money by matching supply and demand. It has the potential to play an important role as Britain makes the transition to a low carbon, smarter and more flexible energy system.

“We plan to publish guidance on the arrangements for storage under the Renewable Obligation and Feed-in Tariff schemes later this year and will be seeking stakeholder feedback. The recent decisions demonstrate that, where the necessary criteria are met, co-location of storage facilities at accredited renewable installations is possible under the current legislative framework.”

Steve Shine, executive chairman of Anesco, commented: “One of the downsides of renewables, such as wind and solar, is that they are classed as intermittent and cannot be relied upon in the same way as coal, gas or nuclear-powered stations.

“But by combining them with energy storage, which enables energy to be stored during the day and released at night, such sites can now be considered non-intermittent – a huge step forward.

“This decision is a game changer for the UK energy storage market. OFGEM has put energy storage as a vital part of the solution to ‘keeping the lights on’.”

Earlier this year, Anesco’s solar farm portfolio rose to a total of 101 sites, while the company is progressing with energy storage at 28 operational sites totalling 29MW.

Meanwhile, Waxman Energy – the British wholesale dealer in the renewable energies sector – has been appointed as exclusive UK distributor for Varta energy storage systems.

Waxman Energy – part of the 50-year old Waxman Group – provides a portfolio that includes all the components needed to install and operate photovoltaic plants for both commercial and private use.

Richard Waxman, Chairman, Waxman Group, said: Varta is a leading manufacturer of energy storage systems and stands for expertise and quality and we look forward to working with then to shape the future of battery storage.”

15 Sept 2017

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