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UKPN to fast-track small-scale battery storage through new internal process

UK Power Networks (UKPN) has launched a new fast-track application process for small scale electricity storage which it said would make it quicker and easier for consumers to connect.

The new system, unveiled last week, came just days after the government and Ofgem pledged to repeal a significant amount of red tape surrounding battery storage in a bid to boost its deployment up and down the UK.

It also followed a strategy document from UKPN which covered the distribution network operator’s (DNO) transition to a distribution system operator, a move which the company said would see it focus more on distributed generation and a “two-way flow of power” much different to the current system.

Under the Fast Track process, applicants seeking to connect small systems will now be guided through an online application process which asks a number of questions around the size of the potential installation, if it sits with other technologies and whether the export can be limited to a maximum of 16A per phase.

Depending on the characteristics of the proposed install, UKPN will judge if it is eligible for the G59 Fast Track process. Further guidance is provided to outline the expectations of the installer depending on the proposed commissioning date of the install, which can range from a single domestic system to multiple installs across commercial premises.

The distribution network operator (DNO) says the new online application process for small-scale batteries will save time and money for many domestic and commercial customers who generate electricity from solar panels or wind turbines and who want to install electricity storage.

Barry Hatton, director of asset management at the DNO, said: “UKPN is embracing the future of energy distribution and generation, and this move underlines our commitment to listening to our customers and delivering practical solutions.

“Small-scale electricity storage in people’s homes and businesses is predicted to grow in the coming years and we have taken another step to facilitate it by making it quicker and easier to connect to our network.”

UKPN worked with the industry to develop the fast track process, with storage companies welcoming the collaborative approach taken by the DNO.

Martin Allman, country director of Sonnen, said: “We’re pleased that UKPN has listened to the industry and developed a simple, quick and easy process. They worked with battery manufacturers and developers to test the new process and as result we’ve got something which is going to be a genuine benefit.

“As an industry, we want to make electricity storage an easy and accessible option for our customers. By working with us, UK Power Networks has made an important move to speed up the process and lower the costs to customers. It’s a great example of DNOs listening to people and taking positive action on the issues they raise.”