PLANNING legislation is to be relaxed to make it easier to construct large batteries to store renewable energy – but so far the change is only being mooted for England and Wales.

In a move likely to benefit solar power installations, which work best when the daytime power they generate can be stored, UK ministers have announced plans to introduce secondary legislation that will remove remove electricity storage, except pumped hydro, from the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIP) regime.

Solar Trade Association chief executive Chris Hewett said: “We welcome the decision to make it easier to deploy flexible large-scale energy storage technologies in the UK, which will help to further decarbonise and improve the resilience of our energy system.

“The next steps in unlocking the potential of energy storage, and maximising the crucial role it can play in managing growing solar and wind output, are to provide greater access to flexibility markets, including the capacity market, and applying fairer network charging rules. Our aim has to be to fully decarbonise these flexibility markets and minimise all use of fossil fuel generation.”

There are currently in excess of 13.5GW of battery storage projects in the pipeline, with 1.3GW ready to build, 5.7GW with planning permission and a further 6.5GW proposed.