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    How landowners can diversify in the absence of subsidy support

    By Paul Spackman – (4 min read)

    Subsidies have given the renewables sector a great boost over the past two decades and although cuts to financial support for onshore wind and large-scale solar have slowed the recent pace of development, opportunities for landowners to diversify income streams still exist.

    New technologies such as large-scale battery storage are increasingly coming to the fore and falling costs, for solar in particular, have helped mitigate cuts to support, keeping both developers and investors interested.

    Indeed, the UK’s first solar farm to be built without subsidies was officially opened in Bedfordshire last autumn, marking a significant milestone for the renewables sector. Anesco’s 10MW solar farm is co-located with 6MW of battery storage, which was key to making the project viable without subsidies.

    Other subsidy-free solar farms are being developed, as are projects to install new battery storage systems alongside existing wind farms for balancing power supplies to the grid (so-called enhanced frequency response services). One high profile example of this is Vatenfall’s partnership with BMW, announced last year, that will see battery storage added to the Swedish power company's operational wind farms. The largest battery system will be at the Pen y Cymoedd wind farm in South Wales.

    Other developers are also actively looking for sites that are suitable for battery storage or short term operating reserve (STOR) standby generators for grid balancing – traditionally diesel gensets, but now mostly gas powered units. Any sites that are close enough to parts of the electricity grid (and the gas grid for STOR generators) with spare capacity are reported to be in strong demand, which is good news for landowners.

    In many areas limited electrical grid capacity remains the biggest barrier for any new energy development, so landowners with sites that meet developer requirements are likely to be in a strong negotiating position.

    Choosing the best options of your land

    What works for one technology or location may not necessarily be suitable or viable in another, so it’s important to consider all options. Any project must be tailored to the current and future requirements of the business and the local grid constraints.

    For example, with renewables such as solar and wind, the focus is on available export capacity to the electricity grid, but remember that battery storage requires both import and export capacity to be available, whereas gas or diesel STOR backup generators require export only.

    If you are interested in exploring these opportunities, it is worth discussing with your developer whether they are viable options for your site. Even if your developer has not considered these options, they may be willing to work in partnership with a new developer to realise the opportunity. You could also consider instructing your solicitor to check whether your existing lease agreement enables you to pursue these opportunities independently.  If given the green light, you’re in a position to instruct your land agent to approach developers well-versed in these areas who can explain how your site can benefit.

    The energy sector is changing all the time as technology advances and equipment costs fall. Ongoing decarbonisation of power supplies and electrification of transport will undoubtedly create further opportunities, and as the UK switches away from the dominance of large power stations to a more decentralised energy sector, some landowners will be well placed to benefit.

    Despite the removal of subsidy support, there are opportunities to consider in this rapidly changing market, and as a UK landowner you are in a very strong negotiating position.

    Paul Spackman is a freelance writer and former Deputy Business and Renewables Editor at Farmers Weekly.

    To check whether your land rent payments are accurate, get in touch with our specialists auditors today.

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      “We found your report informative and easy to read, it was good to see how the wind farm is performing and we were pleased with the results of the audit”

       

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    • “Job well done”

       

      Sara James, Durham

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      Martin Roberts, Peterborough

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    • “Excellent service. The review has given me peace of mind”

       

      Tracy Maria, Cumbria

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    • ‘We found the report very thorough and really interesting and were pleased that the payments have been corrected and appreciate your help with this very much’

       

      David Terrence, Devon

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      “In every instance Accounting for Energy have identified and recovered shortfalls in rent for my clients. Not only do the landowners receive back payments but they are also keen to show developers that they are being held to account.”

       

      Chris Thyer MRICS FAAV Land Agent, GSC Grays

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      “We don’t have comparable leases in renewable energy meaning there are few examples to draw from, so it’s always good to have checks and balances in place. We would recommend Accounting for Energy for their diligence.”

       

      Ali Walker Property Co-ordinator, Bath and Wells Diocese, Church of England

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      “The information provided by the turbine owner seemed to be comprehensive. The issue comes with knowing if all the data is complete and the audit was able to identify areas that we should have been receiving royalties on.”

       

      Ben Ardern Financial Controller, Dewlay Cheesemakers

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      “I worked with Travis on a set of arbitral proceedings to recover unpaid royalties on behalf of the landowners of a large renewable energy site. I was very inspired by his passion for his industry and his tireless commitment to getting the best results.”

       

      Sarah Bishop, Commercial Disputes Solicitor

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      “Travis is the go-to person for renewable energy landowner royalty payments. He gets into the details of a case, and is very tenacious in identifying and recovering any monies owed to landowners.”

       

      Grant Jones, Chartered accountant, solicitor and practicing arbitrator

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    •  

      “I would recommend Accounting for Energy because they are clearly experts in this area, and they were good to work with. It was an easy decision to get them on board because we really didn’t have the expertise or the time to be trawling through the lease and power purchase agreement.”

       

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  • Testimonials


    • “We found your report informative and easy to read, it was good to see how the wind farm is performing and we were pleased with the results of the audit”

       

      Mark Charles, Exeter

      Share

    • “Job well done”

       

      Sara James, Durham

      Share

    • “Early non-payment discovered so very happy with outcome”

       

      Martin Roberts, Peterborough

      Share

    • “Excellent service. The review has given me peace of mind”

       

      Tracy Maria, Cumbria

      Share

    • “We found the report very thorough and really interesting and were pleased that the payments have been corrected and appreciate your help with this very much”

       

      David Terrence, Devon

      Share

    • “In every instance Accounting for Energy have identified and recovered shortfalls in rent for my clients. Not only do the landowners receive back payments but they are also keen to show developers that they are being held to account.”

       

      Chris Thyer MRICS FAAV Land Agent, GSC Grays

      Share

    • “We don’t have comparable leases in renewable energy meaning there are few examples to draw from, so it’s always good to have checks and balances in place. We would recommend Accounting for Energy for their diligence.”

       

      Ali Walker Property Co-ordinator, Bath and Wells Diocese, Church of England

      Share

    • “The information provided by the turbine owner seemed to be comprehensive. The issue comes with knowing if all the data is complete and the audit was able to identify areas that we should have been receiving royalties on.”

       

      Ben Ardern Financial Controller, Dewlay Cheesemakers

      Share

    • “I worked with Travis on a set of arbitral proceedings to recover unpaid royalties on behalf of the landowners of a large renewable energy site. I was very inspired by his passion for his industry and his tireless commitment to getting the best results.”

       

      Sarah Bishop, Commercial Disputes Solicitor

      Share

    • “Travis is the go-to person for renewable energy landowner royalty payments. He gets into the details of a case, and is very tenacious in identifying and recovering any monies owed to landowners.”

       

      Grant Jones, Chartered accountant, solicitor and practising arbitrator

      Share

    • ““I would recommend Accounting for Energy because they are clearly experts in this area, and they were good to work with. It was an easy decision to get them on board because we really didn’t have the expertise or the time to be trawling through the lease and power purchase agreement.”

       

      Nick Kenyon, CEO, Dewlay Cheesemakers

      Share
  • Testimonial with bg


    •  

      “We found your report informative and easy to read, it was good to see how the wind farm is performing and we were pleased with the results of the audit”

       

      Mark Charles, Exeter

      Share

    • “Job well done”

       

      Sara James, Durham

      Share

    • “Early non-payment discovered so very happy with outcome”

       

      Martin Roberts, Peterborough

      Share

    • “Excellent service. The review has given me peace of mind”

       

      Tracy Maria, Cumbria

      Share

    • ‘We found the report very thorough and really interesting and were pleased that the payments have been corrected and appreciate your help with this very much’

       

      David Terrence, Devon

      Share

    •  

      “In every instance Accounting for Energy have identified and recovered shortfalls in rent for my clients. Not only do the landowners receive back payments but they are also keen to show developers that they are being held to account.”

       

      Chris Thyer MRICS FAAV Land Agent, GSC Grays

      Share

    •  

      “We don’t have comparable leases in renewable energy meaning there are few examples to draw from, so it’s always good to have checks and balances in place. We would recommend Accounting for Energy for their diligence.”

       

      Ali Walker Property Co-ordinator, Bath and Wells Diocese, Church of England

      Share

    •  

      “The information provided by the turbine owner seemed to be comprehensive. The issue comes with knowing if all the data is complete and the audit was able to identify areas that we should have been receiving royalties on.”

       

      Ben Ardern Financial Controller, Dewlay Cheesemakers

      Share

    •  

      “I worked with Travis on a set of arbitral proceedings to recover unpaid royalties on behalf of the landowners of a large renewable energy site. I was very inspired by his passion for his industry and his tireless commitment to getting the best results.”

       

      Sarah Bishop, Commercial Disputes Solicitor

      Share

    •  

      “Travis is the go-to person for renewable energy landowner royalty payments. He gets into the details of a case, and is very tenacious in identifying and recovering any monies owed to landowners.”

       

      Grant Jones, Chartered accountant, solicitor and practicing arbitrator

      Share

    •  

      “I would recommend Accounting for Energy because they are clearly experts in this area, and they were good to work with. It was an easy decision to get them on board because we really didn’t have the expertise or the time to be trawling through the lease and power purchase agreement.”

       

      Nick Kenyon, CEO, Dewlay Cheesemakers

      Share

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