Bigger batteries: Government lifts planning cap


Government has confirmed that batteries are exempt from the national planning regime.

To date, developers have capped schemes at 49.9MW to avoid going through the national system, which requires ministerial sign off and can be a lengthy process.

To avoid that, developers looking to build larger projects have split them up. The 100MW China state-backed Minety project in Wiltshire has taken that approach, and developers Penso Power hope to take it up to 150MW by adding another adjacent 49.9MW.

Developers such as Statera-owned Thurrock Power have gone through the National Planning Inspectorate for big storage projects, but that is for a larger 750MW hybrid power station that includes a 150MW/600MWh battery.

While there are already gigawatts of battery projects with planning approval, suggesting market barriers may lie elsewhere, storage firms welcomed the news.

“This is a significant decision from the government,” said Madeleine Greenhalgh, policy lead at the Electricity Storage Network. “It will save developers time and money and encourage more ambitious storage projects, which are vital to decarbonise our electricity system.”

Battery storage investor Gresham House has suggested the UK will require 10GW of storage within the next four years a prediction echoed by those optimising and trading battery storage.

“We need 10GW,” according to Kiwi Power head trader Aaron Lally. “Any less, the market is imbalanced and existing asset owners will be making profits that will make the original EFR contracts look like peanuts.”


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