Case Studies

TCR: “A clear example of why we need joined up policy”

Anesco Chairman Steve Shine

Anesco responds to the Targeted Charging Review (TCR)

Ofgem has released its long-awaited Targeted Charging Review (TCR), which outlines some key changes to electricity network charges.

One of the biggest changes is that residual charges will be delivered via a banded fixed charge framework, as opposed to the current system which sees end users charged depending on how much power they take from the grid.

In addition, amends to embedded benefits will remove the ability for suppliers to reduce their liability for balancing services charges by contracting with small distributed generators. An exemption from paying balancing services charges for small distribution generators is also to be the subject of a second Balancing Services Charges Taskforce.

Commenting on the news, Steve Shine, Anesco executive chairman, said: “We feel that the blanket residual demand charges while delivering lower costs to consumers in the short term, could increase the cost to the consumer in the long run. In our view, Ofgem is taking a risk by imposing such a reform. It could have serious implications for the UK’s ability to reach its carbon reduction targets, as it has the potential to deter investment.

“This is a clear example of why we need joined up policy and thinking if we’re to achieve net-zero. In seeking to find an outcome which is ‘fair’ Ofgem has inadvertently removed a key incentive for consumers to install renewable energy sources. This is not a problem if Ofgem, BEIS and the treasury introduce new incentives for consumers to install renewables – but that must be done swiftly.
“For utility scale assets there is little change but again uncertainty remains, as we await the outcome of the Balancing Services Charges Taskforce.

“Businesses such as ours will need to stay agile and to consider how we design our assets, to provide an investment case. This will be vital if the UK is to meet its carbon reduction targets. As will ensuring that policies are clear and all political and regulatory bodies are committed to pursuing a common aim.

“We will continue to petition BEIS, National Grid, Ofgem and the treasury to provide certainty rather than subsidy, as that is how we will create a sustainable market for renewable and flexible technologies in the UK.”

Established in Reading in 2010, Anesco is the UK market leader for energy storage. The company has developed more than 100 solar farms to date, while its renewables operation and maintenance arm has nearly 1GW of renewable energy under management.

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solar farm security

Quickfire guide to solar farm security

solar farm security

Solar farms have long been a target for criminals, due to the value of their component parts and the remote locations they typically occupy.

For both new sites and existing solar farms, the issue of security is a key consideration. Whether it’s reducing the risk of theft, trespass or damage, site security should form a vital part of any operations and maintenance contract.

New solar developments

The number of solar farms being built in the UK has soared in the past 10 years, a trend that has been driven by several factors; the global shift towards green energy; the falling cost of the technology; and Feed in Tariff (FiTs) subsidies, which were introduced by the government to encourage its take up.

While FiTs payments may now have come to an end, new developments continue to come online and the UK’s large-scale ground-mount solar pipeline for 2019 was reported to consist of almost 200 projects with a combined capacity of 3.3GW.

As the number of solar farms continues to increase, so too does the threat of theft and other criminal activity. Solar panels, inverters and copper cables all remain popular targets, not to mention vehicles and construction site equipment being used during a solar farm’s construction.

Reducing the risk of crime

For investors, ensuring the maximum return on investment is achieved from any renewable development remains a top priority. That means taking every step necessary to maintain performance and optimise the yield of the solar installation.

Having a comprehensive operations and maintenance contract in place that is delivered by an experienced team and thinking about site security, is therefore crucial. This not only reduces the risk of loss or damage to assets, but helps to avoid any potential drop in performance that such incidents may result in.

It may also influence insurance premiums, with insurers increasingly specifying the scope of security measures that must be in place.

Top 5 solar farm security measures

While no security system is impenetrable, the aim of onsite security measures should be to reduce the potential risk and stop a would-be criminal in their tracks.

Such measures need to be fit for purpose, fully tested and regularly reviewed. Like an insurance policy, you hope you will never need them, but if you do, then they need to be in full working order and doing their job well.

Here is a run through of some of the most popular security measures being used by UK solar farms today:

Perimeter fencing

Perimeter fencing makes accessing and exiting a site far more difficult. This reduces the risk of trespassing and having criminals drive on site to move out equipment. Requirements in relation to landscape management plans will influence the type of fencing that can be used.

Manned guarding

The presence of professional security guards on site at a solar farm can act as a strong deterrent and is particularly effective during the construction phase. A full time security detail, working alongside the developer to manage secure access points and guarding the site out of hours, can help to ensure that entry to the site is strictly controlled.

Alarms

Intruder alarms and perimeter beams can be positioned to detect the presence of people and vehicles on site, while working in such a way so as to allow wildlife such as rabbits and birds to access the site without setting off the alarm.

Infrared cameras

Monitored infrared CCTV systems are one of the most popular security technologies around. For any solar farm, the positioning of the cameras is key. They need to be placed in such a way that means they cannot easily be tampered with and any blind spots need to be considered.

Mobile patrols and alarm response

Mobile patrols work by having a security officer make an agreed number of visits to the site, at random times throughout the night. This can be a strong deterrent, while limiting the time criminals have available to cause damage or steal assets.

 

Solar farm operations and maintenance

At Anesco, we have been designing, building and maintaining solar farms for almost a decade. Our comprehensive operations and maintenance (O&M) service provides complete peace of mind that the greatest benefit is being achieved for our customers, from their renewables investments. For more information, please call us on 0845 894 44 44.

 

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