The fund is set to plug 6MW/12 MWh of storage into one of its 91 UK solar parks, this one deep in the heritage territory of legendary broadcaster & cultural icon Alan Partridge.

Planners on North Norfolk Council have approved installation of the fund’s first coulomb crèche on its 11MWp solar farm at Crossdale Street, between the resorts of bustling Cromer and teeming Mundesley.  Installation is due later this year.

Commissioned in 2017, the North Norfolk farm attracts ROCs (Renewable Obligation Certificate) subsidies in the 1.6 band.

Group CEO Michael Bonte-Friedheim declared: “NESF’s first co-located battery site at the North Norfolk solar farm marks another key milestone for us.

“Implementing co-located batteries across the portfolio presents an attractive growth opportunity for NESF as these assets offer both synergies with our PV assets, as well as offering diversification to our portfolio income”.

The fund had been researching the battery storage market for some time, he added. In 2017 it bought two farms with small co-located batteries already functioning.

Earlier this month The Energyst reported estimates from lobbyists RenewableUK that the nation’s appetite for grid-scale batteries had doubled in only twelve months, to a pipeline of 31.2 GW, an all-time high.

RenewableUK’s tally excludes 1.6 GW of grid-scale kit already accommodating amps on Britain’s grid, plus a further 1.4GW now being built.

NextEnergy Capital UK boss Ross Grier commented: “Battery storage is, and will be, a strong driver of growth for us, particularly as we look to help in the drive to decarbonisation and the UK’s goal to achieve net zero by 2050.

“We anticipate that energy market volatility and continued demand for higher amounts of renewable energy will increase our strong value proposition for battery storage within NESF’s portfolio”.

Nearby Cromer International Airport – no, really – is thought to be Britain’s tiniest landing strip with the word ‘international’ in its name.  Global aviation occasionally honours the hub under its alias ‘Cromer / Northrepps International Airport’.

‘Very flat, Norfolk’

As lockdown eases, the strip’s terminal – pictured – and two grass strips have avoided the two weeks of tourist chaos affecting Britain’s bigger getaway hubs.  No commercial carriers operating from the field is a factor being credited by Norfolk travel experts.

Asset managers will be working hard to ensure playwright Noel Coward’s damning verdict on the county in ‘Private Lives’ of 1930 – “Very flat, Norfolk” – never applies to the fund’s first co-located battery.


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