Growing numbers of East Anglian farmers and landowners are seeking to generate new incomes by building large energy storage batteries, say land agents.

Cheffins has reported a surge in enquiries during the last year after government rules governing the size of installations were relaxed.

The company said it was among the “top topics” for farmers and landowners hoping to secure rents from developers seeking sites with easy access rights onto the National Grid.

The storage systems enable the National Grid to balance electricity supplies at peak times.

They can take a number of forms, including containerised units and purpose-built buildings – enabling landowners to charge ground rents "in the tens of thousands per year", said the firm.

Cheffins planner Edward Clarke said there had been a surge in enquiries from landowners looking to create battery storage systems as a new way to diversify.

“There is a rush now to grab connections and capacity while they are available as the market for these opportunities is changing on a nearly daily basis – but with the potential to achieve rental incomes of £850-£1,000 per acre for landowners,” he said.

“Enquiries for these types of projects have amplified since July 2021, when the UK government removed barriers limiting the size of battery storage projects in England, meaning that local planning authorities now determine whether battery projects of 50MW and above are consented, rather than the secretary of state.

“This has made applying for permission for these types of projects far quicker and more affordable.

“Not only is battery storage very lucrative, it isn’t as land hungry as solar or other diversification projects and now, more than ever, the UK needs to take back control of its energy supply.

“We have been advising a number of clients on the potential for battery storage on their land throughout East Anglia, and have been involved in several transactions with energy specialists."

Mr Clarke said the key to a successful energy project is a securing a suitable grid connection, so the company is working with landowners and energy specialists to broker discussions with the grid operator.