Farmers being stalked by salesmen in impractical shoes
25 May 2012
Farmers should take practical steps to avoid the expensive pitfalls of poorly planned renewables projects, warns Nick Green, Associate Director of Savills Energy, at the All Energy Conference in Aberdeen.
Savills which has more than 20 years’ experience in the energy sector and manages more than two million acres of land in the UK, has built an experienced agricultural consultancy advising landowners and famers about diversifying into renewable energy.
“The first principle is that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! We have become increasingly aware that some salesmen are stalking farmers with attractive deals on renewables kit, without explaining, or, in some cases, even having a fair understanding of all the practical considerations a landowner or farmer needs to consider to ensure a good investment,” he explained.
“Developing a workable wind farm installation is far more complex than just buying and installing the technology, there are many other practical considerations that can make the difference between a viable operation and a costly mistake.
“In each case, you have to weigh the costs and benefits and take into account expenses such as maintenance, tax, ancillary equipment, insurance, grid connection, a feasibility study, planning, construction and lease negotiations. Is there really enough wind resource to deliver pay-back? Is it easy to access the site for construction and maintenance and what are the practical implications for crops, livestock and staff? Who else uses the land and are there air space restrictions? Should you fund the project yourself or is it better to share the risk?
“Not least farmers need to consider the wider community and have a strategy in place to win hearts and minds and overcome any local objections.
“If planned properly a project can deliver real benefits, but it is not a project that should be taken lightly and investment upfront in getting the right advice on these issues can save a lot of expense, heartache and inconvenience further down the line,” he concluded.
Savills Berkeley Square
Energy and Rural
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