Frequently Asked Questions

We have compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that we have been commonly asked by both landowners and local stakeholders on the technologies that we support.

If you have a specific question not answered here related to our technologies then please contact us at enquiries@balancepower.co.uk where we will do our best to help.

Battery energy storage systems (BESS)

Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) are developments that store electricity, at times of high generation and low demand, and release this energy back onto the grid system in times of high demand. As heavily polluting but reliable and controllable coal and gas are removed from the grid and replaced by renewable sources (e.g., wind and solar) it is critical we maintain a resilient energy network.

Battery storage is vitally important to the grid system because it can provide power to homes and businesses when renewable energy supply is inconsistent: wind not blowing and the sun not shining, therefore stabilising the grid system reducing blackouts and aiming at keeping electricity prices low.

Energy bills are continuing to rise. The repercussions on homeowners and businesses are widely felt and reported. Further, the UK is facing a cost-of-living crisis that is partially caused by rising energy costs. International events impact on energy security and fossil-fuel prices across the globe due to the international nature of commodity and energy trading so it is difficult for the UK to insulate itself from these geopolitical impacts if there is continued reliance on these fuels.

With this backdrop, there is an undisputed need to increase the amount of homegrown, renewable energy to ensure a cheap and secure supply of energy to meet current and future demand. As well as the wind and solar systems that generate the electricity, complimentary storage to smooth out supply and demand is required. This is where BESS fits in.

In 2021 the National Grid costs to manage and mitigate issues caused by constraints caused by mismatches between renewable generation and demand profiles on the grid hit nearly £1.2bn which is simply passed through to the end-consumer. These costs will continue to rise as more renewable generation is installed and if insufficient battery capacity is installed to compliment it. BESS projects are key to bringing these costs down which will benefit all energy consumers.

Both the economic and environmental case for BESS hinges on the fact that the batteries will often import excess electricity from the grid during periods of high generation or low demand and export electricity during periods of high demand or low generation.

Often the batteries are charged using excess cheap, zero-carbon electricity which would otherwise have been lost through generation curtailment and discharged during periods of high demand where more expensive, dirtier forms of generation (e.g. coal) are operational to help balance generation and demand.

Work by Balance Power indicates that for every 1MWh of BESS installed, it is the equivalent of taking 25 cars off the road. Details of this can be found at https://www.balancepower.co.uk/news-insights/battery-compatability-with-a-net-zero-grid

All BESS developments are supported by a Construction Transport Management Plan that addresses road noise, safety, and congestion and manages the number of vehicles accessing the site at different times of the day/week. Traffic generated by BESS is from the construction phase only. Once operational, trips to the site would be limited to maintenance purposes.

Battery storage facilities are similar in form to shipping containers. The design and siting of battery developments are tailored to minimise the visual impact by landscape screening and locating them adjacent to existing infrastructure (e.g.: substations, electricity pylons). By doing this the development can blend into the existing setting, thus reducing adverse visual impact.

There is a low level of noise emitted from batteries, however, we make sure that this level does not cause an adverse impact on surrounding properties.

The site will be decommissioned at the end of its life, potentially up to 40 years, with all equipment removed and the land returned to how it was before development started.

All battery sites include downward-facing motion sensor lighting that is only activated during emergencies, routine maintenance or for security reasons.

Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) are developments that store electricity, at times of high generation and low demand, and release this energy back onto the grid system in times of high demand. As heavily polluting but reliable and controllable coal and gas are removed from the grid and replaced by renewable sources (e.g., wind and solar) it is critical we maintain a resilient energy network.

Battery storage is vitally important to the grid system because it can provide power to homes and businesses when renewable energy supply is inconsistent: wind not blowing and the sun not shining, therefore stabilising the grid system reducing blackouts and aiming at keeping electricity prices low.

Batteries do not cause electromagnetic radiation. There are elements of the proposed installation such as transformers and overhead cables that will produce some electromagnetic radiation. They are designed in accordance with stringent directives and codes which ensure that any electromagnetic emissions are kept to safe levels.

Our proposals incorporate a substantial area for planting around the perimeter of the site. This helps to screen the equipment and creates new habitats.

Battery storage facilities are required to be close to suitable grid connections. Once a grid connection point is obtained, brownfield sites are prioritised over greenfield land. However, where a suitable brownfield site is unavailable, we carry out an alternative site assessment to choose the next best site.

There are many mitigation measures in place both in the form of legislation and the BESS design itself to mitigate against fire and chemical leakage. Safe transportation ensures no damage to the batteries prior to use. The BESS will be constructed in accordance with the International Electrotechnical Commissions standards for Electrical Energy Storage Systems.

Solar Farm

Traditionally solar farms need:

  • Export connection to the local grid network
  • Electrical equipment on-site including a substation/transformer and inverters
  • Panels installed on metal frames
  • Gap of at least 3m between panel rows for maintenance, grazing, and to prevent shading
  • 2m high security fence.

We seek our projects are screened from neighbouring properties to minimise the visual impact. Our research indicates that large-scale solar farms have no measurable impact on the value of adjacent properties.

Solar farms and agricultural practices can co-exist. Solar farms are constructed with raised panels that enable continued grazing of livestock. Solar energy can also help farmers raise their revenue streams from land less suited to higher value crop production.

Yes, solar farms can produce energy from daylight as well as just sunlight, so they will continue to produce electricity even during cloudy days.

There can be some glint and glare caused by solar farms, however they will be designed and orientated to minimise this impact by considering nearby residential properties and the local landscape.

The lifetime of the project will be between 30-40 years. At the end of the project all equipment will be removed and the site will be returned to former agricultural use.

To date solar farms looked to export all generated power to the national grid. However as this is becoming more and more saturated, connections are becoming harder to find. One solution is to explore the production of green hydrogen to sell to transport providers or industrial users.

Green Hydrogen

Hydrogen, the most abundant element in the universe, can be used to store and transport energy produced from other sources. It is ideally suited to being an energy vector—an energy rich substance that facilities the storage and transportation of energy which will be key in the UK and global transition away from fossil fuels.

Green hydrogen is hydrogen produced using renewable electricity to power electrolysers that separates water into hydrogen and oxygen – a process that has zero carbon emissions. This differs from conventional ‘grey hydrogen’ which is produced by using natural gas as the core component and ‘blue hydrogen’ which utilises carbon capture from a grey hydrogen production process.

Green hydrogen is produced when we use renewable energy like wind and solar to separate water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen using an electrolyser. The electrolyser splits the hydrogen atoms from the oxygen atoms. Then the hydrogen can be stored and used when energy is needed.

Electrolysis is a method of using the energy from an electric current to split water into its elemental components: oxygen and hydrogen. This is accomplished using an electrolyser. When an electrolyser is powered by electricity from renewable sources instead of electricity created by carbon-emitting sources, we have an end-to-end carbon free process.

Hydrogen producers are currently targeting industries and processes that are natural gas intensive such as heavy industry as well as large-scale transportation such as buses and lorries. These industries are currently completely dependent on fossil fuels in order to operate and there will be no alternative technical solution for industrial customers wish to pursue net-zero goals as electronification here is not practical.

It will not be cost effective to transport pure hydrogen over long distances without total re-engineering of the existing natural gas network. This means that there is a captive market for green hydrogen producers who are local to energy intensive industries any as necessary infrastructure to facilitate UK-wide large-scale long-distance infrastructure will be decades away.

It is possible to inject some hydrogen into the gas grid under certain circumstances, but it is unlikely to be widespread. There are question marks over how much blended hydrogen current gas appliances can safely tolerate and even if this issue could be satisfied, new pipework may be needed.

Also, current government policy is pushing electrification of domestic heating and transportation. Hydrogen has other markets that it can target where electrification is not technically feasible and efforts should be concentrated there.

Any industrial process that uses high temperature heat or steam will be ideal for green hydrogen substitution. Examples of such industries include:

  • Glass manufacture
  • Fertiliser production
  • Steel manufacture
  • Cement production
  • Chemical production
  • District heating systems.

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our development team?