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UK government opens consultation on large scale PV-plus-storage rules

22 February, 2019

In the U.K., systems bigger than 50 MW fall under the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects regime and require special permitting. With the aim of optimizing the market for higher storage penetration, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is holding a consultation until March 25 to determine whether to retain the 50 MW threshold.

According to the announcement, the consultation is part of its “Upgrading our energy system – smart systems and flexibility plan” ambition.

The U.K. Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) today opened a consultation on the treatment of electricity storage within the national planning system.

The consultation opened today considers two areas that have proved contentious while reviewing the energy flexibility plan. One is: “Whether the level and unit of the 50 MW capacity threshold for non-wind onshore generating stations in the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIP) regime is appropriate for electricity storage.” The other concerns “clarification of how composite projects, consisting of storage and another form of generation, should be treated with regards to the NSIP capacity threshold”.

In the supporting documents for the consultation, BEIS said it does not believe the 50 MW capacity threshold – which ensures PV projects of that size and larger need special NSIP planning permission – poses a significant obstacle to storage developers. While permitting processes add costs for developers, they would be dwarfed by factors such as network connection and upfront capital costs and available revenue streams, according to BEIS.

The department reports, however, some stakeholders have said the process could overcomplicate regulatory systems for developers.

That policy comprises 29 action points which, if executed, should help integrate energy flexibility assets better into Britain’s infrastructure and energy markets.

The government has previously stated more flexible solutions could mean savings of between £17 billion and £40 billion up to 2050.

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