Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS)

Are they the new Golden egg for some Landowners?

You might have heard the term Battery Storge, but what does it really do? Head Of Armitstead Barnett Professional Department, Richard Furnival, explains:

Demand for electricity can vary dramatically across the day in the UK. For example, there is usually a peak in demand in the morning and a second, higher, peak in the evening. Using fossil fuels, it was possible to adjust the amount of power being generated to match the amount required. That is much harder with renewable energy sources. Wind turbines only generate power when the wind blows, solar farms when there is enough sunlight – and that might not match the pattern of demand. This is where battery storage comes in. When the amount of power being generated exceeds demand, battery storage systems charge up and store the energy. When that situation reverses, and demand exceeds supply, the batteries release power back into the grid. They therefore smooth out the peaks and troughs in power generation and help match it to demand.

The batteries are housed in units similar to shipping containers. Each unit contains about 2MW of batteries. The number that can fit on a piece of land varies but typically, you might expect something like 10 to 15 units per acre (20- 30MW per acre but technology is changing rapidly with some now able to accommodate up to 50MW per acre).

We have seen a huge increase in demand for sites from BESS developers, not every site will come forward and we might have already reached saturation levels but if you have land which has good road access, away from a residential area but importantly very close to the local electricity network which has sufficient capacity to receive the power released by the batteries and the cost of connecting to the grid isn’t too high, then you could have an opportunity.

Most operators will want to enter into an option first and then enter into a lease with the landowner, typically for a 30-year period. Landowners will receive an index-linked rental payment, with the operator also being responsible for removing the batteries and reinstating the site at the end of the lease. 

The amount of rent paid varies depending on how many units the site can accommodate and the cost of connecting them to the grid, but I can safely say that the rents are significant so it certainly pays to get up to date professional advice.

Authored by

Richard Furnival

North Lancashire

07967 647378

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