Charlie Flindt writes in Farmers Weekly (£):
I’ve been spotted rummaging through the hedges and tracks than border my farm, searching high and low for, would you believe, an electricity substation. It turns out that if you are lucky enough to find one on or near your farm, and it’s over 33kV, you’re blessed: you can now go ‘generator farming’.
On a concrete pad (hmm, carbon footprint?), surrounded by a massive earth bund, an array of diesel-powered (yes, diesel) generators are installed and linked to the grid. Their sole purpose is to switch on and provide back-up power when the national grid is found wanting. They are known as ‘short term operating reserves’, or STORs.
The figures (as supplied by Strutt and Parker) are astonishing. The average STOR will supply 20MW, and so will need 50 400kW generators. The rents are even more mind blowing. The rule of thumb is £1,000-£2,500/MW capacity, so for a 20MW STOR – well, do the sums yourself. The other good news (assuming you yourself don’t live in earshot) is they tend to only work at night – probably something to do with the inherent night-time uselessness of solar farms. And if you do live nearby, fifty grand a year will pay for some serious double-glazing, or even a new house at the far end of the farm.