National Grid ESO - maintenance engineers at wind turbines

Accelerated Loss of Mains Change Programme - Hull City Council case study

From wind to solar to combined heat and power, many energy generators may need to make a mandatory system change to their assets by September 2022. The Accelerated Loss of Mains Change Programme (ALoMCP) is a funding scheme that helps generators to make this change.

Martin Budd, Climate Change Manager at Hull City Council  explains how they implemented the changes. 

WHAT KIND OF ENERGY GENERATION ASSETS DO YOU OWN?

A library, a car park and a stadium. Not what people think of when they think energy.

Local councils can often have really complex energy generation asset portfolio. We have a number of different buildings within our ownership or stewardship with installed generation. Currently, we own three solar PV generation assets; one on a library that is a listed building, one on the top of one of our multi storey car parks and the other is on a sports stadium.

National Grid ESO - Martin Budd

Being a council, the types of buildings that we are responsible for are quite varied and so initially it wasn’t clear that something like the Accelerated Loss of Mains Change Programme would apply to us. Our solar panel arrays provide revenue savings but are also are a key part of our decarbonisation approach, and while we take care of our assets, we – and likely many other councils – are not always immediately aware of regulatory changes such as this.

HOW DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THE ALOMCP?

We are fortunate to be in contact with a very proactive contractor. He got in touch to let us know that we needed to update our generators, and that funding was available to do so through the ALoMCP.

We were a little sceptical at first. As you may expect, free money often invites scepticism, but our contractor provided a letter from our DNO (Northern Powergrid) confirming the legitimacy of the programme. This certainly helped smooth the process as having the credible backing of a DNO gave us confidence in the ALoMCP funding.

WOULD YOU RECOMMEND THAT OTHER COUNCILS, AND SMALLER GENERATOR OWNERS, LOOK INTO APPLYING FOR FUNDING THEMSELVES?

Absolutely. I cannot conceive a reason as to why other generators wouldn’t apply for this upon learning about it.

It is not often that this kind of funding is available, and as the programme ends next year, the monetary incentive won’t be around forever

Not only did it enable us to make our assets compliant – for free – it also gave us the opportunity to give our generators a valuable health check.

WHAT DO YOU THINK MIGHT BE PREVENTING OTHERS FROM APPLYING?

My guess would probably be that they aren’t aware that the ALoMCP exists. If it wasn’t for our contractor and DNO being particularly proactive about the ALoMCP, we may not have known either.

In terms of raising awareness of the scheme, organisations like National Grid ESO and the DNOs have an important role to play in getting the message to generators, and really working to target the right people in organisations that own generation assets. Energy suppliers also probably have a good idea of which of their customers are generating energy through feed in tariffs and smart export guarantee tariffs, so they could be another good route to get the message out to generators.

WHO ELSE, APART FROM COUNCILS AND LOCAL AUTHORITIES, SHOULD BE ALERTED TO THE ALOMCP?

I imagine that business with generators that are secondary streams of income, rather than the primary focus, will not be aware of this scheme because, much like ourselves, they won’t be actively looking for any regulatory changes that they need to comply with.

Communicating about ALoMCP through groups like the Federation for Small Businesses and Chambers of Commerce could help promote information about the scheme to this audience.

Anyone with a generator that fits into the ALoMCP specifications should be looking into applying – this includes is any generator that is above 11Kwh and was installed before February 2018.

It may be that your generators are already compliant, in which case you should let the ALoMCP know, but even if there is chance that they may not be, I would advise applying for funding immediately so as to not miss out.

You can find more information about ALoMCP on the ENA’s website, or for more information about the regulatory change, please contact your relevant Distribution Network Operator.