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    What We Do

    We are the UK’s leading firm specialising exclusively in renewable energy land rent audits. We are dedicated to ensuring that those who have invested in renewables receive full and accurate returns from the green energy produced.

     

     

     

  • Tag Archives: renewable energy


    A glimmer of hope for onshore wind?

    By Travis Benn  – (3 min read)

    Last year we looked at what might happen once the government’s Feed-in Tariff ended in March in this blog. A new law set to replace FiTs has received a mixed reception so far, but at a time when the future of onshore wind looks uncertain, could this new law be the glimmer of hope for small-scale renewable energy generators?

    Despite findings that onshore wind is an inexpensive way to produce electricity, the support for offshore wind seems to keep growing. Recently, it was announced that a new funding pot of £100m will help companies capitalise on the boom in the offshore sector. This comes at the same time as Theresa May announcing that the UK will become a zero carbon nation by 2050, to which trade body, Renewable UK, has responded that onshore wind needs to be a key part of the strategy in achieving this. Against this backdrop, the frustration is understandable for those in a position to create clean energy through onshore wind.

    But could the introduction of the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG), a new law that will see small energy producers paid for excess energy they create that goes back to the grid by their energy companies, be a small turning point?

    The SEG, which will cover both wind and solar, will apply to any new contracts and will be based on the ‘export rate’ alone, whereas FiTs were based on both the export and generator rate. The other key difference is that the energy company can set their rate rather than using the fixed rate the government provided previously. Critics suggest it’s a backhanded way to reintroduce subsidies for new projects and the expansion of existing ones.

    So, is this a positive move? Small generators are less likely to get as favourable a rate as was available in the past, but any help the sector can get has got to be a good thing. Of course, the challenge for many of the companies which would be able to contribute to helping us reach the 2050 target with subsidy support, still remains. While money is being pumped into offshore wind, small gestures such as these do not go far enough to exploit the benefits of onshore wind.

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

    For further information, please contact:

    Travis Benn

    Audit Director

    0203 375 6144

    Share

    Sustainability – the future of finance

    By Freccia Benn  – (4 min read)

    Here at AfE we are passionate about ensuring landowners’ green energy is working hard for them. The very heart of what we do is  to help our clients to be both sustainable and profitable,  and we get excited when we see other businesses working toward the same goal. Our Editorial Director, Sharon Davis, sat down with our Operations Director, Freccia Benn, to find why she thinks sustainable businesses are the future. 

     

    What are your thoughts on sustainability in business?

    Sustainability provides businesses with an opportunity to lead environmental outcomes. Historically,  a business was seen as ‘green’ if their raison d’être was environmentally linked, but the reality is any company  can have this focus. I think the definition of a green business today is one that puts sustainability at the heart of their strategic decisions. This could be changing the way they process waste, measuring their environmental impact or reassessing their supply chain to see if they can work with greener suppliers and other partners.

    What does this mean for AfE?

    It’s our mission to empower landowners to be financially and environmentally shrewd. At a time when the UK government has scaled back its subsidy support, making renewable energy production appear less commercially viable, we are creating a cultural shift, so that renewable investments are fair, attractive and rewarding, rather than being perceived as complicated and non-transparent.

    How do you do that?

    Through our royalty audits which proves that renewable energy makes good business sense and has identified significant saving for our landowner clients since we began in 2014. Such savings are maximising the benefits of renewable operations for UK landowners.

    Why is this important?

    This is an unregulated area. We are increasing transparency and equipping UK landowners with comprehensive knowledge about their renewable projects, and our royalty audits help our clients to gain more ownership over the renewable energy produced on their land.

    For too long the perception around renewables and eco-friendly activities has been that it’s a good thing to do, but not necessarily financially beneficial and this simply isn’t the case. Both go hand in hand, and I’m sure many financial professionals would agree.

    Do you think sustainability is the future of finance?

    I do. Many organisations realise that current financial models and our general attitude toward the environment has to change, and organisations such as Accounting for Sustainability are doing a great job in this area, one of the ways they do this is by galvanising financial leaders to think about how they incorporate sustainable methods into the heart of their financial processing.

    It’s also great to see many big businesses taking their carbon footprint seriously, plus I’m inspired by smaller companies such as Abundance Investment which is a platform that provides finance for projects with long-term sustainable outcomes, and bio-bean which recycles waste coffee grounds into advanced biofuels and biochemicals. There is a lot going on and I do believe the tide has turned. Businesses have a unique opportunity to be the driving force for environmental change while simultaneously being profitable.

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

    For further information, please contact:

    Freccia Benn

    Operations Director

    0203 876 0324

    Share

    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. 

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

    For further information, please contact:

    Travis Benn

    Audit Director

    0203 375 6144

    Share
  • 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 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
  •  

    Freccia Benn is an entrepreneur and the co-founder of Accounting for Energy (AfE). Her successful private health business background and achievements have played a vital role in the creation of AfE, her mission is to impact every landowner that has invested in renewable energy. Freccia is responsible for all operational activities and client services.

     

     

    “I love the countryside and will seize any opportunity to get out of the office to meet with our rural clients. I am passionate about creating a level playing field between our individual landowners and their site operators. I also enjoy working with our commercial clients to maximise and safeguard the revenues from their renewable energy investments.”

     

    Freccia Benn
    Co-Founder

     

    0203 876 0324

     

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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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