UK: Farm Power: How to get a fair deal for green grid connection

Leading members of the farming and renewable energy industry, co-ordinated by the Farm Power project, have called on government to provide clear direction on the future of distributed generation.

Connections are increasingly hard to find, prohibitively expensive and due to the technical nature of the application process, largely inaccessible to independent generators.

“Clarity is needed on the amount of renewable energy generation wanted by government for distribution in the UK by 2030,” says Dr Jonathan Scurlock, chief renewables adviser at the NFU. “For many farmers with small-scale renewables projects, the grid connection process appears to be getting ‘slower and less effective’ rather than quicker and more efficient,” added Dr Scurlock.

“The government has failed to anticipate the volume of land-based renewable energy generation. We are concerned that this will stifle investment in those land-based renewables that support a profitable farming sector,” he says. The National Trust is one of the UK’s biggest landowners and is facing an uphill battle. “Grid should facilitate, not determine the location of renewable energy schemes,” says James Lloyd, external affairs adviser at the trust.

“Due to the high costs we are being quoted for grid connections we have to resubmit applications for a lower capacity to keep costs down. Quotes we receive vary hugely from around £480/kW to £3,083/kW. This makes it very hard to predict project costs. “It takes three months to receive a quote from the DNO [District Network Operating company]. When this quote comes back too high, beyond our budgeted project costs, we have to resubmit another application for a smaller capacity. Often we have to then wait a further three months for a new quote.

“We’re now designing most schemes to have a maximum output of 100 kW to try and ensure a connection, but we’re missing the opportunity to optimise the amount of power available.”

Source: William Frazer via Farmers Weekly
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