Growing Balance Power

As 2023 draws to a close and we enter into our eighth year of bringing clean-energy solutions to the UK energy market, we reflect on our growth, team and current landscape, and look ahead to what’s next.

Balance Power was established with the vision to support the nation’s evolving energy needs with innovative, clean-energy solutions. Our focus has always been on working closely with landowners, communities and industry partners to shape a sustainable future and meet the UK’s net-zero commitments.

As a renewable energy developer, we specialise in all types of projects, though we predominantly focus on battery storage and solar. We’ve grown beyond our developer roots; building, owning and operating our projects, meaning we work even closer with landowners, businesses, communities and local authorities across the country to ensure we create the right projects in the right places, the right way. This approach ensures our projects not only help to meet the UK’s growing clean energy needs, but that they also align with the unique needs and values of the areas they serve.

Under the guidance of our CEO Phil Thompson, who brings 18 years of experience in developing energy projects, we’ve been driving our mission to decarbonise the UK’s energy system. This year, we expanded our offering to provide businesses with bespoke behind-the-meter energy generation and storage solutions, bypassing the grid to lower their operational costs and carbon footprint.

In our seven years of operation, Balance Power has taken nearly 32 energy projects through to planning consent, contributing 426MW of capacity to support the grid. Looking ahead, with around 1766MW of projects under development, we have a growing and increasingly diverse pipeline of energy projects nationwide.

Our strategic evolution saw a deliberate pivot from gas-peaking projects to focus on battery storage and solar, anticipating the inevitable rise in renewable and flexible energy generation in the UK. By reallocating resources and exiting our gas-peaking joint venture, Balance Power was able to solidify its position in the battery storage and solar market.

As our pipeline of battery storage projects matured, we partnered with TagEnergy, marking a significant milestone that committed to constructing 500MW of our pipeline over four years and required an investment of over £300m. Our shared vision with TagEnergy propelled Balance Power to the next phase of our journey to build out the first 500MW of our current 2.5GW pipeline.

The rationale behind the strategic shift towards battery storage lies in addressing the challenges posed by the intermittent nature of renewable energy sources. While the UK achieved a record-breaking level of renewable production over the past years, battery storage emerged as a pivotal solution capable of storing surplus energy during peak generation for subsequent use during high-demand periods. Recognising the crucial role energy storage plays in achieving net zero, Balance Power shifted its focus and investment towards this solution.

However, the industry faces a challenge in promoting longer-duration storage projects, which are vital for reducing the extensive grid upgrades required for decarbonisation. Our latest research from Nick Provost, Balance Power’s Commercial Manager indicates that 8-hour battery storage projects are favoured for flexibility and cost-efficiency solutions given grid connection time. However, a lack of understanding in the wider market is hindering progress and incentives would be required to stimulate investment in longer-duration projects. To address this, we’ve advocated for policymakers’ support to incentivise the development of these projects, recognising their pivotal role in achieving efficient energy storage solutions.

Our research into long-duration storage is just one of the ways we aim to stay ahead of the curve at Balance Power. In the context of a sector that is still maturing, and where technologies are still emerging, you’ve got to be innovative to be successful.

In the UK, it has historically been hard to get infrastructure projects through local planning, and renewable energy projects have been no exception. But in the last couple of years, we’ve seen the tide start to turn as awareness of climate change has grown. More residents now expect their local authority to take action on this issue.

It also comes down to government policy changes. For example, in September 2023, the government lifted an effective ban on onshore wind, amending a policy that previously meant an onshore wind farm could be rejected if proposals received just one objection. This has widened the scope for local authorities to accept proposals despite limited local opposition.

Our success rests on long-term project commitment, thorough planning and community engagement. We prioritise detailed design and development, consulting extensively to ensure projects benefit the local landscape and community.

We have an incredible team at Balance Power that’s always focused on improving the way we do things and continually making our projects and processes better. We’re always asking ourselves, “how can we improve?”. This pursuit of excellence keeps us at the forefront of the industry, delivering top-notch net zero compatible solutions.

Our team is made up of highly innovative problem solvers who share and leverage their collective expertise to find superior approaches. Our recruitment strategy focuses on finding individuals who align with our business culture and adaptable thinking, valuing resilience and a commitment to daily improvement. This has proven highly successful, resulting in a cohesive and collaborative team that’s excited about our mission.

Looking ahead to 2024 and beyond, expect Balance Power to significantly expand its project portfolio, aiming for an additional 500MW in annual construction and 500MW in development each year. Exciting projects, like our Rectory Farm battery storage site in Worcester, are expected to be in construction soon, marking a busy yet thrilling period for the company. Stay tuned!