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Battery Storage – Farm Energy Future Solutions

8 March 2023

Case Study

Rabbie Brewster runs an arable and potato farming business alongside his brother Alec based in West fife in the village of Culross with further land near Cupar and on the outskirts of Dunfermline. The farm has  considerable electrical energy needs with potato processing equipment, potato cold storage sheds, and a seed grain processing. The farm’s initial entry into energy production was the installation of a 500Kw wind turbine, and solar panels, at the main farm steading. This has provided some of the energy needs for the farm and diversified their business income.

The wind turbine and the solar panels have been a success for the Brewster’s, and Rabbie was on the lookout for other energy production options the business could develop. The idea of having a battery storage site on the farm was a natural next step to take full advantage of their renewables.


What is battery storage?

The principles of battery storage are simple.

  • The batteries are charged either from a connected energy production unit e.g., solar, wind, gas or energy is taken from the grid.
  • The batteries are then on hand to give the grid extra capacity during peak demand or to increase the overall capacity of the grid.
  • Battery storage can be a great solution for evening out the supply and demand issues attached to the renewable energy market.
  • Battery storage companies can be paid for supplying extra energy during peak demand, increasing the capacity of the grid or for storing excess energy within the grid.

Battery storage - may not be an option for everyone but where it is viable it could provide a different source of income into a farming business without a wide scale change in farming practice.

Where to start

  • Engaging with a land agent or developer. Companies such as this will be able to help with the initial processes that must take place for the site and project to be viable.
  • Grid connection and site is key. Access to a substation and that substation having the capacity to accommodate a battery storage site is vital for the success of a proposed project.
  • Booking capacity. Once a grid connection and capacity concerns have been addressed then the project must secure them for the site. Simple linking the connection and capacity to the site.
  • Planning. once a suitable site has been chosen, grid connection confirmed, and capacity booked then site/project will be subject to planning. This will include access, environmental impact, and impact on the local community.
  • Tendering. Once planning has been granted then the project may be put out to tender for outside investment. Often what happens is an energy company specialising in this area will take on the project and take it to completion. At this point the developer will have completed their job and no longer have an active involvement.

Key Messages

  • Identify the potential for a viable site .
  • Engage an agent or developer to investigate any planning issues.
  • Tender site for investment
  • Agree terms with investor

Finlay Ross, SAC Consulting

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