Farmland sought for new wind turbine scheme

Farmers and landowners are being sought to lease out land for a new wind turbine scheme which offers a 15% share of revenue to landowners over 20 years.

The new £2.6m joint venture has been launched between farm consultancy ADAS and low-carbon specialist CO2Sense, whereby single, medium-scale 500kW turbines will be erected on farmland throughout the UK.

“We would only ask that we have a formal legal agreement drawn up with the landowner where we are a tenant on the land. If they have a mortgage they will need to get permission from the bank, but we will help them with that,” said ADAS principal consultant Chris Proctor.

“This gives us permission to put the turbine up and in return the farmer gets 15% of the gross revenue and the option to get energy.”

The scheme, run by ADAS subsidiary company REsolved Renewables, is open to farmers and landowners throughout the UK, excluding Northern Ireland. It is based on a 20-year lease with the 15% share of gross revenue linked to the retail price index, paid quarterly, added Mr Proctor.

“We always give farmers an open book income so they are shown the detail of what we get paid from the distribution network operators and Feed-in Tariff [FiTs] payments,” he said.

Any landowner can apply to be part of the scheme – the only requirements are that turbines are not placed within a 500m radius of a residential property and there is 40x20m of land space available.

“We always give farmers an open book income so they are shown the detail of what we get paid from the distribution network operators and Feed-in Tariff [FiTs] payments.”
Chris Proctor, ADAS

Deciding factors on the scheme include wind speed and grid connection (see Farmers Weekly 24 August) and farmers can find out the viability of possible sites by visiting the REsovled Renewables website, said Mr Proctor.

“The only obligation for the farmer is that any future renewable projects on the farm are not in conflict with the wind turbine scheme and if the project isn’t successful at planning then that’s our loss,” Mr Proctor added.

“We have also put in place a special-purpose funding vehicle for turbines so each one is an individual company.

“The landowner’s rights are protected so if we were ever to sell the turbine, the landowner’s rights would transfer with the ownership of the turbine.”

In the event of the wind turbine changing ownership, the landowner as landlord would have a say in the process.

Mr Proctor said he expected farmers to receive a minimum return of £30,000 a year and although the forecast suggests FiTs payments will decline, farmers would most likely recoup their previous level of return based on increased revenue in line with the retail price index.

The minimum return estimate of £30,000 allows for FiT reductions and fluctuation in electricity price.

Based on the wind turbine manufacturer’s assumption that the average wind speed will be 6.5m/second, typical annual return would be £45,000-48,000.

This is based on the sale of electricity and FiT payments at a rate of 17.5p/kWh.

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