2.25 Renewable electricity production has significantly increased since the adoption of the Development Plan. As the most common renewable energy sources, solar and wind, are intermittent, there is a greater need for power reserves that can “balance” the grid by releasing power onto the grid at times when demand exceeds supply.
2.26 This has led to an increase in proposals for “balancing plant” technology. Balancing plant can be gas turbines or gas engines that can be turned on at short notice to meet temporary demand. Alternatively, energy storage plants can be used to balance the grid, most commonly battery packs although other technologies are emerging. These either store energy from the grid to release when supply is scarce or can be co-located with renewable energy to release renewable power when renewable energy production is otherwise unable to meet demand.
2.27 It is acknowledged that there is a need for flexibility and stability in the energy supply, and that grid balancing plant will be required to help enable transition to 100% renewable electricity. However, the burning of fossil fuels for energy generation, including by gas balancing plants, would increase the district’s carbon dioxide emissions and is therefore not supported since it is inconsistent with the Council’s Climate Emergency Declaration.
2.28 In order to facilitate an increase in the level of renewable energy generation and the Council’s 2030 net zero carbon goal it is proposed to amend Policy CP3. A topic paper on Energy Balancing Plants has been prepared to explain this approach.
Consultation Reference DM 5
Amendments to Policy CP3: Renewable Energy
Development should contribute to achieving the following minimum level of Renewable Electricity and Heat generation by 2029.
|110MWe (Megawatt Electricity)
|165MWth (Megawatt Thermal)
Development should also contribute to the need to balance electricity demand and supply in order to assist the transition to 100% renewable electricity. Proposals for grid balancing plant will be expected to follow the hierarchy below:
- Energy storage plant co-located with renewable energy generation plant
- Freestanding energy storage plant
Balancing plant that increases the district’s carbon emissions, for example those that burn fossil fuels such as gas will not be acceptable.