The turbulence of the last year in terms of the reduction in subsidies for renewable energy technologies has meant that many farm scale installations are no longer commercially viable. So where is the industry now heading and what potential options are there for farm based schemes?

The simple facts are that UK based power generation through traditional power stations is in decline as a result of measures to remove high emission fossil fuel based power plants. In addition UK power stations are generally of an aging nature both in terms of fossil fuel and nuclear based generation. This is leading to decommissioning of sites that are at the end of their operational lives and is set against a background of a lack of new power stations being able to come online to replace the decommissioned capacity. This has now lead to the inability to have surplus capacity available in the grid.

Taking the background situation into account and coupled with the fact that renewable technology is not able to generate electricity “on demand” (ie. we can’t control the wind or the sun), there is an increasing need to be able to “balance” energy supply in the grid to allow sufficient electric for times of peak power demand.

It is this energy “balancing” issue that is likely to offer farmers’ and landowners’ opportunities going forward. There are various technologies that are able to quickly supply electric into the grid to meet times of high demand (when power stations can’t supply sufficient quickly enough). These include gas and diesel fired “gensets” and also battery storage technologies. Gas and diesel gensets simply fire up and generate additional electricity in to the grid as and when it is required. Battery Storage charges up during periods of low electricity demand and can release its’ charge very quickly in times of high demand.

As with normal renewable generation technologies, the main requirement for any scheme is the ability to viably connect into the electricity grid. Typically schemes will need 33kV power lines but there are options for 11kV and direct to substation connections. Sites will also need to have favourable planning potential (near barns for battery storage; away from houses for gas / diesel gensets)

As a result of the different types of technologies out there, careful consideration needs to be had about how you proceed into looking into hosting a scheme. One of the most important things to remain in control of is your ability to connect into the grid. If you are in control of the ability to connect into the grid you can invite competition from developers to take the scheme on ensuring you receive the best terms and rent. If you sign up with one particular developer and they are the grid connection it is likely that you will be tied to them.


If you think you might have a site that is suitable for hosting a scheme please get in touch. We are working with an energy consultancy firm and can do desktop feasibility studies free of charge. If there is potential for a scheme we will work together to apply for a connection and invite developers to bid for the site. The best bit is that all fees will be paid for by the successful developer… there is nothing to lose.

Please call Mike Cluley on 01684 853400  for further information.