Independent generators invested £58 million in 80 new renewable energy projects last year, adding 329MW to bring the total capacity of the sector above 14GW, according to Smartest Energy’s annual Energy Entrepeneurs Report. But investment has switched away from renewables towards gas peaking plants and storage, in response to cuts in government support.
Of the £106.9 million total investment in gas peakers that delivered last year, SmartestEnergy calculated that £36.6 million was invested by existing energy entrepreneurs. Investment was concentrated on northern England, where land costs are lower and locations easier to find.
The amount of storage capacity in the planning system more than doubled to 4.9GW during 2018, with 36% of the total in Scotland.
Among the new renewable energy projects, Scotland accounted for 276MW, thanks to five major onshore wind farms being connected to the grid. Some 10MW came from new solar PV farms at 49 sites.
Smartest Energy said one of the key developments for energy entrepreneurs is the chance for embedded generators to enter the Balancing Mechanism (BM) as part of an aggregated unit. SmartestEnergy’s Generator Revenue Stack Survey revealed that 41% of energy entrepreneurs are already responding to changes in the commercial landscape, and are now considering providing ancillary services.
Download the report here