A Note on Installations of National Significance & the Setting of Local Renewable Energy Targets
By David Peacock BSc(Eng) ARSM DIC MAIME PhD 21 June 2021
1. In its Final Draft for Endorsement of the Bournemouth, Dorset & Poole Renewable Energy Strategy to 2020, published March 2012, the Dorset Energy Partnership (DEP) announced its expectation that approximately half its 2020 renewable energy target would be delivered via resources considered by Government to be of national significance1,2,3. This expectation was deduced from the UK Renewable Energy Roadmap, para. 2.7, p.14, published BEIS, 12 July 2011.
2. There are two criteria that have to be satisfied for an installation to be of national significance: location and installed capacity. If its location is offshore its installed capacity has to be greater than 100 MW and if its location is onshore its installed capacity has to be greater than 50 MW. All other installations are defined as being of local significance.
3. The installed capacities to produce this report have been taken from two Government publications: the Renewable Energy Planning Database (REPD) Extract, which records capacities from the highest down to 0.2 MW and the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) Installation Report which records capacities from 5 MW down to the lowest. Only capacities below 0.2 MW in the FIT report have been utilised. This allows full coverage of the data available and avoids duplication.
4. Although the distinction between national and local is based on installed capacity, an installation’s performance is based on energy generation. The load factors required to calculate energy generation have also been taken from two Government sources: The Digest of UK Energy Statistics (DUKES), Table 6.5, published, BEIS 30 July 2020, for the larger installations and Feed-in Tariff Load Factors, Energy Trends, published BEIS, 22 December 2020, for the smaller (FIT) installations.
5. The installations recorded in this report are either operational or in the planning pipeline. Installations in the pipeline are those that have been submitted for planning consent, those that have been permitted and are awaiting construction and those that are under construction. The attrition that occurs as installations pass through the pipeline has not been taken into account and the aggregate annual energy generation for these installations represents a theoretical maximum for eventual deployment. Although the magnitude of future generation is uncertain, the split of annual energy generation between National and Local installations expressed as percentages is not significantly affected unless their attrition rates are significantly different.
6. Data are presented in two sets of tables, one for operational installations, representing current generation and the other for operational plus in-pipeline installations, representing future generation.
7. Tables 1 & 2 provide data for 30 June 2011 that confirm the Government’s expectation, at that time, of a 50/50 National/Local spilt. 60.3 TWh of electricity estimated to have been generated in the previous 12 months was split 48.3% National, 51.7% Local (Table 1). Taking into account potential generation in the pipeline, future generation (towards 2020) was estimated to be 70.4 TWh, split 51.1% National, 48.9% Local (Table 2).
8. Tables 3 & 4 provide data for 31 December 2020. These provide an estimate of 113.9 TWh for the generation of renewable electricity in the UK in 2020, split 54.1 National, 45.9 Local (Table 3). Taking into account potential generation in the pipeline, future generation (towards 2050) was estimated to be 226.5 TWh, split 65.8% National, 34.2% Local (Table 4).
9. It can be noted4 that Dorset Council’s Low Carbon Team has stated that Dorset needs to generate 100% of its estimated 4 TWh future annual electricity demand from its own solar, wind and biomass resources. The possibility that this target could be reduced by two thirds through a contribution from installations of National Significance appears not to have been considered.
1. Guidance on Nationally Significant Infrastructure, Planning Act 2008, published DCLG, March 2017.
2. National Policy Statement for Renewable Energy Infrastructure (EN-3), published DECC, July 2011. 3. Overarching National Policy Statement for Energy (EN-1), published DECC, July 2011.
4. Renewable Energy: Detailed Technical Paper, Low Carbon Team, Dorset Council.
David Peacock BSc(Eng) ARSM DIC MAIME PhD 21 June 2021