As the need for flexible, low-carbon energy grows, battery energy storage systems (BESS) are set to play a major role in balancing UK grids. But sorting through planning requirements can feel daunting. This article breaks down the pros of BESS, considerations for developers, and tips for a smooth process.
What are Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS)?
Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) are systems that store energy in batteries for later use. They are used to store excess energy generated from renewable sources such as solar and wind, allowing for the efficient distribution of energy to the electricity grid. BESS plays a crucial role in integrating renewable energy sources into the grid and enabling a more stable and sustainable energy supply.
Some key things to know about BESS:
- Technology: BESS typically uses lithium-ion batteries due to their high energy density and long lifespan. Other battery chemistries like lead-acid and sodium-sulfur are also used.
- Scale: BESS come in varying sizes, from small residential systems to large utility-scale projects over 100MW/100MWh in size that connect directly to the transmission network.
- Applications: BESS provide energy management, demand shifting, renewable backup power and grid services like frequency regulation. They help balance the intermittent nature of solar and wind.
- Siting: BESS are located near population centers to offset peak demand, near substations for grid connections, or at renewable energy farms.
- Components: A BESS contains cabinets housing many battery modules, a power conversion system, energy management system and auxiliary equipment for safety/cooling.
- Benefits: Can lower energy costs, increase grid resiliency and help decarbonise power sectors by supporting the integration of more renewable resources.
The Benefits of BESS
Battery storage opens doors to maximise renewables through applications like peak shaving, frequency response and reserves. It helps integrate more solar and wind at lower system costs. Some key pluses:
Here are some tips for developers to consider when planning battery energy storage system (BESS) projects:
- Evaluate revenue streams – Weigh potential income from capacity market payments, energy arbitrage, grid services like frequency response.
- Optimize system sizing – Ensure batteries are large enough to capture revenues but not oversized. Consider degradation over lifespan.
- Engage local grid operators – Contact your DNO/TSO early to understand connection process and technical requirements.
- Explore co-location opportunities – Pairing BESS with solar or wind farms can reduce permitting complexity and transmission costs.
- Consider future-proofing design – Oversize wiring and converters to facilitate potential expansion alongside new revenue streams.
- Focus on site logistics – Ensure adequate space for container footprints, turning areas for deliveries and maintenance access.
- Streamline planning approvals – Consult regulators and engage local communities to address concerns upfront.
- Incorporate monitoring systems – Access performance data to maximize revenue, quickly address issues, and verify contract availability.
- Integrate with building management – For behind-the-meter systems, optimize self-consumption of on-site generation.
- Understand financing options – Consider tax incentives, power purchase agreements, and availability of low-cost project financing.
With care and creativity, even technical constraints can be overcome. Stay nimble throughout to capitalise on storage’s role in decarbonisation.
Incorporating BESS into developments
In the context of town planning, BESS can be integrated into new developments to support the energy needs of the community. The placement and visual impact of BESS, as well as the necessary maintenance access, must be carefully considered to ensure they do not negatively impact the environment or communities. Additionally, town planning must take into account factors such as buffer zones, ecological protection, battery technology, and access routes to minimise the environmental impact and ensure the effective operation of BESS.
Tips for Smooth Sailing
- Shore up fundamentals – Solid tech/revenue models show feasibility upfront
- Keep conversations flowing – Proactive engagement maintains buy-in
- Empower community voices – Be receptive to feedback that inspires better designs
By applying these best practices, developers can efficiently guide BESS through local pipelines to the grid. The rewards for people and planet are waiting – let’s get charging!
For town planners, architects, and developers interested in incorporating BESS into new developments, there are various useful resources available to support their integration. Some useful resources include:
- Government policies and regulations: Government policies and regulations are a valuable resource for understanding the legal requirements and standards for BESS integration into new developments.
- Industry organisations: Industry organisations, such as the Energy Storage Association and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, provide information and resources on the latest advancements and best practices for BESS integration.
- Technical guidelines and standards: Technical guidelines and standards, such as those provided by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), provide valuable information on the design, construction, and operation of BESS systems.
- Case studies and best practices: Case studies and best practices from successful BESS integration projects can provide valuable insights into the challenges and opportunities associated with integrating BESS into new developments.