Kent’s energy entrepreneurs take the lead in battery power

Gary Jefferies

KENT is one of the greenest counties in the UK and comes in the top ten places for the provision of renewable energy by independent suppliers a new report has revealed.

The Energy Entrepreneurs report by SmartestEnergy found 401.6 megawatts (MW) of electricity in Kent is supplied by independent renewable projects, enough to power more than 217,000 homes and saving more than 330,000 tonnes of CO2 a year.

This places the county eighth in the UK, just ahead of Norfolk 399.2 MW. The leading authority is Highlands & Islands where 656.8 MW is supplied by independent projects – defined as those not owned by an electricity supply company.

However, the report warned that across the UK growth in the number of projects being commissioned projects ‘flatlined’ in the last three months of 2016, due to ‘subsidy cuts and political uncertainty.’

This slowdown in the number of more traditional projects, such as solar and wind generation, has led to investment in battery storage increasing and it is Kent that is leading the field in this area.

By 2020, nine new battery storage projects will be in operation within the county ranking Kent first among the UK. Of the 2.3Giggawatts of planned storage nationwide, a quarter (594MW) is due to be built in the county.

Overall the picture for the industry moving forward is less reassuring, the report claims, citing a fall of investment into the sector last year of £1.1billion, with spending set to fall of a ‘cliff edge’.

It warned investment will shrink by up to 95 per cent between 2017 and 2020. The report blamed ‘sweeping cuts’ in renewable subsidies and the decision to end the Renewables Obligation for solar and onshore wind early for this trend.

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