25 September 2023

The charge of microgrids – Louise Irvine speaks to Property Week

Senior Knowledge Development Lawyer in the Commercial Real Estate team, Louise Irvine, has spoken to Property Week on energy alternatives for developers, should the national grid run out of capacity.

One method of overcoming the issue of power shortages, currently being considered by developers, is the creation of microgrids, which involves producing and storing electricity from renewable sources locally and then distributing it around a development.

Main benefits

Irvine believes in the future of microgrids and that they will evolve to play a bigger role in property developments.

She says that: “In the future, local microgrids could connect to each other so that developments could buy and sell electricity to and from each other in times of need or surplus to avoid drawing from the National Grid.

“Whatever form a microgrid takes, there are benefits to such systems. Microgrids help overcome the inefficiency of distributing power over a larger distance.

“It is estimated that up to as much as 15% of electricity dissipates in transit, so by having the power generated close to the area being served, this issue is greatly reduced.”

Cost-effectiveness

Microgrids may indeed be cost-effective, especially after considering the cost and likely delays of connecting to the national grid.

There are restrictions that developers need to be aware of; namely that any microgrid on a residential development needs to be operated by an IDNO.

However, it is possible that microgrids – or at least the potential for their future development – could become compulsory.

“It is currently a Section 106 requirement to ensure developers leave capacity for and safeguard a route for future connection to combined heat networks, subject to the costs being viable,” says Irvine. “We might see similar rules being inserted relating to microgrids.”

So, while microgrids might be some way off being mainstream in the UK, it looks likely that they will play a growing role in property developments in the future.

This article was originally published by Property Week on 21 September 2023 and can be read here (behind their paywall).

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