Renewable energy

Renewable energy

Renewable energy and energy storage consultancy services

Decarbonising energy supplies by implementing local renewable energy infrastructure combined with battery energy storage systems (BESS), is a key part of achieving net zero carbon emissions and mitigating against  incerasingly high and volatile global energy prices.

Installing  renewable energy generation and renewable heating technology can enable you to dramatically reduce your operating costs and benefit from energy security and resilience by reducing your reliance on the global energy market.

Our team of energy experts work with a variety of sectors, including heavy industry, manufacturing, industry, food and drink, transport, healthcare, water, waste and facilities management. We provide innovative solutions tailored to your needs, supported by our specialists in energy systems, sustainability, carbon capture, sustainable transport, energy from waste, and more. 

Why is implementing renewable energy important for your organisation?

When planned for effectively, your organisation’s transition to low carbon energy will not only help to protect you from the negative impacts of climate change, but also provide the following benefits:

  • Cost reduction: Reduce your energy bills by reducing your reliance on volatile and rising energy supply prices.
  • Risk reduction: Increase energy resilience to minimise the risk of disruption to your business operations
  • Legislation preparedness: Increase your adaptability to future environment and climate change legislation
  • Budgetary control: ​Regain control of your energy and carbon emissions budgeting
  • Differentiator: Demonstrate sustainability leadership as a market differentiator
  • Meet market demands: Satisfy the sustainability demands from your investors, customers and employees.

Ricardo can help you achieve your energy decarbonisation ambitions

Whether you are just starting to plan your energy transition, or already have a roadmap in place and want expertise to deliver your ambitions, Ricardo is here to help. As an independent consultancy, we offer impartial renewable energy implementation services and can take you through the steps required to complete your ambitions for decarbonisation. These include:


View each of the sections below to find out more about our renewable energy consultancy services and read about some of our recent projects. If you'd like to speak with us about your renewable energy projects get in touch using the form on the right of this page.

1. Developing your energy transition strategy

How will your organisation transition to renewable energy sources, be they electricity, heat or transport fuels?  We can prepare a plan and roadmap to appraise your options and ensure a co-ordinated approach to implementation and monitoring.  Our team can deliver internal communications, awareness-raising activities and training workshops to support the launch of your energy transition roadmap.

Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) for energy in Bermuda for up to 85% renewable energy

Ricardo drafted the first official first official IRP for the electricity sector in Bermuda, outlining a clear path for the island to generate up to 85% renewable energy by 2035. Ricardo also conducted the modelling that underpinned the IRP.

The project was delivered in two phases. In the first phase Ricardo reviewed a draft IRP that was prepared by the electricity utility. When the first draft was found to be lacking in ambition for renewable sources, Ricardo was asked to prepare an alternative IRP with renewables playing a greater role.

Following this study, Ricardo was contracted by the Regulatory Authority of Bermuda to support with the implementation of the key recommendations of the IRP, including the development of competitive procurement guidelines and pre-feasibility studies for solar PV projects. (Press release)
Ascension Island renewable energy options appraisal
The Ascension Island Government is keen to assess itsoptions for increasing the contribution of renewable energy as well as transitioning the island to electric vehicles. This is driven by its aspiration for increased energy security, reduced carbon emissions and potential for long-term cost reduction.

The government engaged Ricardo to conduct an options appraisal and feasibility study that will form the basis for future grant-funding applications, investment proposals and regulatory decisions.
 
Decarbonisation strategy for 12 prison sites

In a project to develop decarbonisation pathways for 12 prison sites we assessed the energy performance of each site (heat, power and building fabric), as well as their physical characteristics and layout, and then proposed measures to improve their energy efficiency, generate renewable power and to decarbonise the residual electrical and heat demands.

We then modelled the options over time for the energetic and economic performance of each site along its timeline to 2050. As a result, the client had a coherent and costed selection of measures for each site which work together to achieve net zero targets within a clearly defined timeline.

 
2. Developing concept designs and feasibility studies

At the feasibility stage we examine the viability of your proposed development(s) to identify technologies, any benefit of BESS, site suitability and land use planning, energy demand and yields, connections (private wire or distribution network operator) and the economics of your investment (price per kWh, ROI, etc). 

Our diagnostic approach ensures that your targets can be met realistically while minimising risk and cost. With the rising price of energy, offsetting your supply from the grid typically offers better value than exporting to the grid, so we size schemes to optimise economics rather than maximising the size of installation. 

Our breadth of technical expertise spans the energy, waste, food and drink, manufacturing, finance and transport sectors. This enables us to evaluate all options and identify the most suitable path for you, while working with your facilities management to verify the viability of the project.

Our experts offer due diligence and investment screening advice. We are also able to advise on eligibility and access to sustainable finance. 

Solar farm feasibility study

Ricardo was commissioned by a local authority to assess the costs, benefits and risks for a ground-mount solar PV system on land owned by the council. The study scope included assessment of key factors impacting on project viability, including:

• Technical and construction constraints
• Planning (including Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA))
• Electricity sales (e.g. via corporate and synthetic power purchase agreements (PPAs))
• Connection to the electricity distribution network
• Connection to neighbouring sites via private wires
• Integration of battery storage
Feasibility for floating solar PV and Private Wire connection (Water Industry Client)

This project explored four scenarios to connect a MW scale solar PV system to customers.  Ricardo assessed options for on-site use and minimal export (1.2 MW and 11kV connected) and for significant commercial export (up to 10MW and 33 kV connected). Each scenario considered two technical options: ground mounted or floating solar PV on a near-by reservoir. The scheme will be community owned, on the site owned by a water utility, or on adjacent farmland.
Solar PV Connection and Income options for Cuckmere Community Solar

This project, for Cuckmere Community Solar, explored the different routes to maximise the value of the sale from the already consented 4MW Cuckmere Community Solar Farm in East Sussex. Grid connection capacity for this 4MW solar PV project is limited to 2.65MW.  In addition the project needs to find ways to increase income from electricity generated, as the subsidy that was available from the FIT or RO is no longer available.

The study examined two options:
• Alternative grid connection options
• Sale of electricity to different customers

The combined impact of these options was assessed. The original connection offer from UKPN was at 11kV and sale to a licenced electricity supplier.  The grid connection options assessed were:

1)    Electricity sale to a licenced electricity supplier by connecting to the 33kV network,
       which is a more conventional route;
2)    Electricity sale and connection to SE Water at Arlington Reservoir;
3)    Electricity sale to Network Rail and connection to Berwick Station.

This study included:
• Assessment of solar PV capacity and mounting arrangements;
• Assessment of solar PV generation in every half hour using Helioscope, an industry standard solar PV assessment tool
• Assessment of the grid connection routes and costs – including the benefits of using an Independent Connections Provider, a cheaper option than using the DNO
• Power Purchase Agreements and income assessment from SE Water and Network Rail
• Financial assessment of the costs and benefits of the 3 options
• Assessment of the financial impact of adding electricity storage to the solar PV site.
Heat pump feasibility study 

Ricardo was commissioned by a local authority to investigate the feasibility of heat pumps for heating a sheltered housing facility. The facility had old electric storage heaters which needed replacing. The council wanted to replace them with a lower carbon heat source, and a ground study had already been undertaken. One of the objectives of the project was to review the study and provide recommendations to the council on the feasibility and suitability of the preferred heat source and to look at the current energy performance of the building.

We visited the site to gather the necessary information and undertook a feasibility study on different types of heat pumps, including ground source, air source heat, and shared loop heat pumps. Our study included option comparison and financial analysis, followed by a recommendation of the most suitable solution for the council to implement. Commentary on the feasibility of providing electricity to the heat pumps from rooftop solar PV was also provided in the final report.
 
Due diligence on 50MW/50MWh large battery investment

Our client was considering funding a 50MW/50MWh battery system. Two types of income stream were proposed:

1.    Grid services: frequency support, capacity etc.
2.    Sale of electricity to an EV charging hub.

Our team delivered technical assessment and delivery plan risks; and a business plan review, including revenue, capital and operating costs benchmarking. We also reviewed the grid connection and planning document and interviewed the project developer and their technology supplier.
Wind energy development on an island

We worked with a major media provider to develop a large-scale wind energy project that would generate electricity to power their strategic remote island site and support the island community. We supported the client at every stage of this development, including:

• The initial feasibility study examining all the renewable energy options that were applicable
• Detailed feasibility study on wind energy
• Development of the business case for the capital and project development budget £3k
• Monitoring of wind energy at the development site
• Environmental Impact Assessment
• Support to apply for, and gain, planning approval
• Preparing the technical specification for the turbine purchasing contracts
• Valuation of tender returns

 
3. Securing consents

We can support with development consents including: 

  • Land ownership and wayleaves.
  • Planning and EIA – screening, scoping, application and closing out conditions.
  • Offtake arrangements – onsite connection and/or private wire, DNO connection, power purchase agreements. 

Our team has a developer background so we understand how to manage risks in a cost-effective way. 

Planning application management and design requirements of a solar PV farm in Victoria, Australia

A solution was required to address local electricity reliability and supply issues. We needed to find an appropriate way to use farmland and remove native grassland without having a detrimental effect.

The technical solution we provided:
• Involved 93.75ha of land for a solar energy facility and included a 44MW solar farm and 50MWh battery storage facility.
• Contributed to the rural economy of Wellington Shire.
• Integrated with agricultural uses.

Our solution was created in accordance with the Victoria State Government’s Solar Energy Facilities Design and Development Guidelines and the Country Fire Authority’s (CFA) Guidelines for Renewal Energy Installations

 

Ricardo delivered a complete service, involving the coordination and management of stakeholders including planners, the State Government, land owners, communities and the CFA. We also provided expert guidance in accordance with the Victorian Government’s new 'Solar Energy Facilities – Design and Development Guidelines'.
Private Wire and PPA – Whisky Distillery

Ricardo supported the distillery in the contractual and regulatory arrangements associated with developing a private wire electricity supply from a neighbouring renewable power generator.

Work included:
1. Developing heads of terms for private wire PPA
2. Understanding regulatory issues including metering, licencing and carbon reporting
3. Outline grid connection design and management
4. Cost structures for connection
5. Private Wire project risk register and project Gantt
Preliminary Flood Risk Assessment 

Ricardo’s water experts completed this review for a 30MWp solar farm.  This covered assessment of the following risks: fluvial flood, groundwater flood, tidal flooding, sewer flooding and surface water flooding.  

These assessments were used to provide advice on:
• Site design and construction for flood risk mitigation
• Location of solar PV modules
• Location of inverter(s), transformer(s), etc.
• Site hardware and flood conveyance 
• Site access
Glint and Glare Study 

Our client was developing a major solar PV system, but due its proximity to an airbase, a Glint and Glare study was needed to assess the potential risk of the installation to aviation.  Ricardo using the FAA methodology to assess these risks and to inform the detailed development of the solar PV site.

 
4. Procuring the right technology provider

Our experts add considerable value in procuring suppliers of renewable energy infrastructure. We provide a range of procurement and bid support services ranging from “light-touch” to “hand-holding” depending on your organisation’s budget, resource or time availability.

Our procurement and contracts specialists provide support, as required, throughout the procurement process, from drafting the tender documents and identifying potential tenders  through to tender evaluation, negotiations and contract award.

Solar PV Connection and Income options for Cuckmere Community Solar

Riding Sunbeams Limited (RSL) was set up with the mission to develop directly connected solar for railway traction systems. 

Ricardo supported RSL in the development of the concept design, tender specifications and tender evaluation for the 4MWp PV farm at Cuckmere and private wire connection to a Network Rail substation.
 
Development of new 500-home development with MWh-scale energy storage

Our client was developing a unique housing development with solar PV and a battery system serving the entire site. This included linking all PV systems to the battery – to optimise the energy demand and generation across all the new homes – supporting an energy services company (ESCO) model.

Ricardo’s team delivered technical assistance with grid connection of the 2MWh battery; assessment of battery tenders, ranking each based on price, performance and risk; and commercial support on ESCO revenue streams, consumer tariffs etc.

 
5. Supervising construction and commissioning works

Our engineers can provide contract supervision services to give you peace of mind that the EPC contractor’s detailed design and subsequent construction meets the functionality and performance requirements of the EPC contract. Services can include:

• On-site monitoring.
• Reporting that works undertaken by the EPC contractor are in accordance with the specification.
• Witness tests, inspections, quality checks 
• Monitoring the completion and commissioning process.
• Monitoring the take over and acceptance processes.

Owner’s Engineer support

Ricardo provided owner’s representative services to a private sector developer in support of a medical waste treatment facility. The plant will incinerate highly infectious yellow bag clinical waste, waste oils and other non-hazardous health care waste using stepped hearth combustion technology.

As the scheme uses an existing building Ricardo needed to develop a specification and employers’ requirements which incorporated significant redevelopment of the site for the intended use.

The development of the plant had to comply with permitted development rights (known as a CLOPUD) rather than obtaining new planning consent. Permitted development for a site under a CLOPUD strictly limits alterations to the existing building and the addition of new plant and equipment. This meant that the development of the concept design and specification was particularly challenging, ensuring that all systems compliant with current best practice would fit into a compact space.


 

Ricardo also provides transaction services to vendors and investors, including:
• Technical & Environmental Due Diligence
• Sustainability Due Diligence 

Related services

Ricardo also has in depth experience of:

Relevant resources

RESTATS – the definitive source of UK renewable energy statistics

RESTATS – the definitive source of UK renewable energy statistics

Case study
Download resource