Consultancy Eunomia has developed a map showing grid constraints and opportunities for developers using the Renewable Energy Planning Database (REPD). In a new report, the firm says developers should form consortia to ease grid access and reduce their costs.
The report outlines the sometimes challenging process developers currently face for connection agreements, and the costs imposed if network reinforcement is required to accommodate new generation.
But the firm says developers could use the maps to work out where new capacity could be sited without reinforcement, reducing queues for connections and maximising available network capacity, leading to lower cost connection offers.
Eunomia believes it may also enable developers to take more creative approaches in constrained areas, such as locating behind the meter at large energy users.
“Carefully deployed, such projects would allow renewables to reduce the demands on the distribution network, rather than increase them,” states the report.
Developers keen to site projects in a constrained location could use the maps to identify other nearby projects and form consortia to share the cost of reinforcement, says the firm.
Eunomia also suggests DNOs could improve the maps by supplementing REPD data with their own data, such as that regarding already planned reinforcement work.
“Having monitored and analysed every renewable energy and storage application across the UK in recent years, we’ve already seen some interesting and unexpected opportunities,” said Eunomia senior consultant, Duncan Oswald.
“With a new wave of subsidy-free renewables looking an increasingly likely prospect, it’s the right time for the companies that run the UK’s distribution network and the developers that bring forward projects to start preparing.
“That means making sure that there is access to good, easily interpreted data on grid constraints, and a more effective way of managing the queue for connections.”
Download the report here.