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    What We Do

    At Accounting for Energy, our vision is to build a mutually beneficial, rewarding marketplace
    for landowners who have renewable energy projects on their land.

    That’s why all our services help to increase transparency in this new and largely unregulated
    industry – while equipping and empowering landowners and the other people we help with
    the insights they need to benefit fully from their renewables projects.

     

     

  • Tag Archives: gas


    Waste underdog drives change towards net zero future

    By Travis Benn  – (4 min read)

    For years, landfill sites were seen as the only option for municipal solid waste. Now, although landfill quite rightly sits at the bottom of the waste hierarchy, it is still a globally viable waste solution. Aside from its role in disposing of solid waste, it is also contributing to the renewable energy market, which has become increasingly important in tackling climate change.

     
     

    Landfill gas is a natural by-product of the decomposition of organic material. Because the gas is mainly made up of methane and carbon dioxide, if it is released into the atmosphere, it can have a devastating effect on a planet already under pressure. Capturing landfill gas to feed into the electricity grid is standard practice in the UK, but the industry is also seeing new innovation.

    Innovative system transforms landfill gas into transport fuels

    One of the country’s leading waste management firms Viridor announced in November that it was investing a whopping £2 million in a gas clean-up system which transforms landfill gas into transport fuels while also capturing CO2. 

    Viridor will work with Dutch company CarbonOrO to deliver the project at its Dunbar landfill site in Scotland.

    How does the clean-up system work?

    In the system, landfill gas is extracted from the ground, where it then undergoes a stripping process to upgrade the methane into fuel-grade biomethane and a temperature regeneration process to enable the capture of carbon dioxide and other contaminants.  

    All of this can be done in a ‘matter of minutes’, representing a huge potential for the renewable energy market. The biomethane can then be put into the gas grid, used as a gaseous transportation fuel or use in liquid gas applications. 

    What will happen to the fuel produced?

    Once the site is up and running, Viridor will use the fuel to power its own fleet of waste collection vehicles, as well as building supply agreements with filling stations.

    The process will also see the carbon dioxide captured used in agriculture, chemical and manufacturing processes. 

    How much carbon could this fuel save?

    The Dunbar landfill site is currently producing 2,500m3/hr of gas, which Viridor predicts can create transport fuel for 34,000 truck miles per year. This is equivalent to a carbon saving of 380 tonnes a year compared to diesel. The process will also use heat from Viridor’s existing energy recovery facility representing a closed-loop, efficient service.

    The plant will be installed soon, with commissioning taking place this summer. If commercially successful, Viridor plans to roll out the technology across the rest of its landfill sites.

    Showing commitment during uncertain times

    Viridor’s announcement comes at an uncertain time in environmental policy. Incentives set by government to encourage best practice, such as the landfill gas renewable obligation certificates (ROCs), are due to come to an end in 2026/7, so it has become essential for businesses to develop these processes regardless of government support.  

    Viridor’s financial backing in what it believes to be the world’s first gas clean-up site is an exciting sign of a resource industry ready for a net zero future.

    For further information, please contact:

    Travis Benn

    Co-Founder

    0203 375 6144

    Share

    Biodegradable ban

    By Freccia Benn  – (4 min read)

    Since it was first introduced, the Landfill Tax Escalator has played a major role in reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill. Twenty-three years later, the mood has shifted and governments are now considering a move that would have been unthinkable even 10 years ago – a ban on biodegradable waste sent to landfill.

     
     

    Aside from the wider goal of keeping waste out of landfill, the ban is expected to contribute to the country’s strategy on carbon emissions. The Committee on Climate Change recently called for a ban on all biodegradable waste sent to landfill by 2025, if the UK is to reach its target of net zero emissions by 2050. Scotland has gone a step further, with legislation already in place for a ban in 2021.

    Despite the many positive impacts that a ban would bring, Scotland is facing pressure to demonstrate that there is enough capacity in place to deal with the extra waste that will be diverted from landfills across the country. It is expected that quantities of that waste will be crossing the border for processing in England.

    When it comes to landfill gas, the picture is complicated. Sites with gas extraction equipment tend to operate for long periods of time so, for example, the oldest known site opened for business in 1947 and began producing electricity in 1987. The site closed in 1990 but still produces electricity to this day.

    It takes around three to six months before waste added to a landfill starts to break down to produce landfill gas. It will then continue to be productive for the next 20 years before the volume of gas starts to decline.

    If the influx of material suddenly stalls, the expected renewable energy income will also come to a halt. For the companies that have installed high tech equipment based on a projection of a reasonable income, the prospect of a ban on biodegradable waste could be a daunting one.

    The impact of the introduction of a ban might be felt within six months. Not only could it reduce the volume of landfill electricity produced each year; it might also limit the total number of years that the landfill site would continue to produce electricity.

    To gain a clear picture, each site would need to be analysed individually. Although this may sound like a formidable task, well-managed sites should be checking outputs, projections and agreements on a regular basis. For land owners the benefits are clear – they need to ensure that they are receiving the correct level of royalties for hosting the equipment on their sites. However, with an impending ban, it is also important for landfill gas equipment operators to ensure that they are not expected to pay royalties on income that has been reduced as volumes of waste fall.

    The outlook for the future is complex. Reducing biodegradable waste to landfill is an important step but it could be argued that, where landfill gas is in place, genuine value is being created.

    For further information, please contact:

    Freccia Benn

    Co-Founder

    0203 876 0324

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    Lessons for landfill operators – Landfill Tax claims for generating landfill gas

    By Travis Benn  – (9 min read)

    Earlier this month, Britain reached a landmark in the transition away from fossil fuel reliance. For the first time since 1882, we passed a whole week without using coal to generate electricity.

    Aside from the important differences in pollution and carbon emissions, renewable energies differ from fossil fuels in another interesting way. Whereas fossils are widely considered as ‘resources’ in the traditional sense, the resources used to generate renewable energy often inhabit a more grey area.

    Take waste, for example. Much has been written about the classification of waste, and the exact moment when it transforms to become a product. For those operating landfill gas equipment, which generates renewable energy from household and commercial waste, the distinction can be confusing and frustrating. If waste is being used as a resource, which contributes to the renewable energy mix, then surely it should be valued in its own right, and exempt from Landfill Tax?

    For those who have asked this question, the answer can be found in the landmark case involving Patersons of Greenoakhill, which challenged HMRC by seeking to reclaim £17.6 million (later revised to £3.5 million) of Landfill Tax, which it had previously paid in relation to mixed waste that was used to generate renewable energy.  

    The landfill operator eventually lost its case in The Court of Appeal, no doubt disappointing other operators which generate electricity from landfill gas. For those still unclear as to the reasons behind the outcome, let’s look at this case closely.

    Intention to re-use landfill waste?

    Under sections 40(2)(a) and 64(1) of the Finance Act 1996, Landfill Tax should only be payable by a landfill operator when it makes a disposal of material as waste, with the intention of discarding the material.  

    Patersons believed that it should not be required to pay Landfill Tax on any domestic, commercial and industrial waste deposited that was expected to produce landfill gas because, it argued, it had no intention of discarding the waste but, instead, planned to use it for the production and supply of renewable electricity for the National Grid.

    Patersons also highlighted two earlier cases, involving Parkwood Landfill Ltd and Waste Recycling Group Ltd, where the courts confirmed that landfill operators are not required to pay Landfill Tax in circumstances where landfill operators reuse material received at their landfill site in applications such as roadmaking, landscaping or as daily covering. 

    We understand that Patersons’ landfill site produces up to 52,280 mega-watt hours of renewable electricity each year. In other words, enough electricity to power 13,000 UK homes per year (or 109,377 UK homes from January 2008 to December 2018), according to the industry regulator, Ofgem’s records.

    Can renewable energy from landfill gas qualify as recycling of waste material?

    Patersons reasoned that it had no intention to ‘cast aside’ or ‘abandon’ its waste. Rather, it says, it had deposited waste material into the landfill void to provide future benefits (i.e. methane for electricity) in the same way that a seed is put into the ground to derive a later harvest when it grows. Therefore, all of its gas-producing waste was being recycled to produce renewable energy and, therefore, should not be subject to Landfill Tax.

    However, the court took the view that Patersons “were not planting the seed but dumping it”. That is, it believed that Patersons was intending to get rid of waste material, and that this material was wholly separate from the landfill gas (which did not exist when the waste was deposited) that was later produced and recycled.

    As a result, the court held that Patersons should pay Landfill Tax in respect of all waste material, even though some of the waste produced landfill gas and renewable energy.

    Why did the court make its decision?

    We have reviewed the judgement handed down by the court, and noted that the decision was significantly influenced by the following assertions: 

    1. The process of decomposition does not reduce the volume of landfill waste.

    2. The amount of biodegradable material does not decrease when Patersons uses the methane to generate electricity.

    3. It is not possible to identify the value of landfill tax due on the tonnage of the deposited waste from which methane was produced.

    Essentially, the court believed that the production of renewable energy had no effect on the quantity of biodegradable material that was deposited and / or used to produce landfill gas – Patersons simply used the landfill gas alone, and that it utilised none of the biodegradable “material” in order to produce renewable energy. As a result, there could be no viable claim for a reimbursement of Landfill Tax.  

    At first glance this might seem counter-intuitive, especially if we remember Albert Einstein’s famous formula (i.e. E = mc2), which says that anything having mass (such as landfill waste) has an equivalent amount of energy, and vice versa. It seems reasonable to expect the biodegradable material (mass) to be utilised if it was used to produce renewable energy. 

    Was biodegradable material recycled?

    If we know the amount of renewable energy that was produced by Patersons’ biodegradable waste, then we should be able to accurately calculate how many tonnes of landfill waste was actually used (m = E ÷ c2), and how much should, theoretically, be exempt from Landfill Tax.      

    We followed Einstein’s formula and found that Patersons’ landfill site produced 453,915 mega-watt hours of renewable energy from January 2008 to December 2018. This results in a total saving of just 18.2 grams of waste material that genuinely could be said to have been diverted away from the landfill site during this time.

    How much Landfill Tax could have been saved?

    Unfortunately, due to the very small amount of biodegradable waste needed to produce vast amounts of renewable energy, this results in a total saving of less than 1p in Landfill Tax over an 11-year period (based on the actual mass of waste saved of 18.2 grams multiplied by the average landfill tax rate of £66.73 per tonne from 2008 to 2018).

    This confirms that even if the court had granted Patersons’ retrospective tax claim, the amount of Landfill Tax saved in respect of waste actually recycled after a known amount of renewable energy was produced, would still be less than a penny. 

    Although it appears that Patersons may have been technically correct in claiming that some of the biodegradable waste deposited was actually used or recycled, it was perhaps more than a little over-ambitious. To justify a Landfill Tax rebate of £3.5 million would, in reality, have required Patersons to recycle a staggering 136,000 tonnes of biodegradable material.

    Other lessons for landfill operators

    Another key point that arose from the Patersons case is that, under the terms of their landfill permit and under Article 8 of the Landfill Directive, landfill operators now have a legal duty to generate renewable energy from their waste (rather than flaring methane gas), where possible.

    Although Patersons had invested in eight Jenbacher engines (at the time, the most reliable and expensive model on the market), and employed a full-time site engineer to manage landfill gas extraction, many operators will be more inclined to outsource if they do not possess the necessary in-house resources to do so. This can work efficiently, as long as operators ensure that contracts for royalty payments are calculated accurately, which is something we can help with.

    However they choose to go forward, landfill operators should be fully aware of their obligations in relation to producing renewable energy. As the market matures, many are now earning more from gas generation than from gate fees, which helps to provide some reassurance, despite the unfavourable outcome of this long-awaited case. 

    For further information, please contact:

    Travis Benn

    Co-Founder

    0203 375 6144

    Share
  • Testimonials

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      and we were pleased with the results of the audit”

       

      Mark Charles,

      Exeter

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      Durham

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      Peterborough

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      Cumbria

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      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.”

       

      Nick Kenyon,

      CEO, Dewlay Cheesemakers

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  •  

    Before Accounting for Energy, Freccia was a successful entrepreneur in the healthcare space. When Travis told her about the challenges in the renewables sector, she was convinced that they could use their combined expertise to help landowners.

    Fuelled by her passion for business and making a difference to landowners, Freccia then developed her ideas for Accounting for Energy’s services, strategy and pricing in a way that would best serve their clients.

    She is now responsible for all the business’ operational activities and client services, and her passion for helping landowners in the UK continues to drive her work.

     

     

    “With the threat of climate change to our planet looming, my mission is to develop a business that helps build the infrastructure of the renewable energy market. I also want to make sure those who are invested in it receive fair returns. As this is still a new industry, we are able to help to avoid the pitfalls of other more established industries and by doing so, help the wider green economy.”

     

    Freccia Benn
    Co-Founder

     

    0203 876 0324

     

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  • Our Clients

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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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      Exeter

    • “Job well done”

       

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      Durham

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

       

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

       

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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”

       

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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

    • “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

    • “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

    • “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

    • “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

    • ““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


  • 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
    • Sara James,

      Durham

      Share
    • Martin Roberts,

      Peterborough

      Share
    • Tracy Maria,

      Cumbria

      Share
    • 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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