Demand for Green Energy sites persists

    Developers remain as hungry as ever for Scottish renewable energy sites of all sizes and across all technologies including wind, hydro and biomass.  However, farmers should act with caution to avoid expensive pitfalls of poorly planned renewables projects, warns Nick Green, Savills Head of Energy in Scotland.

    “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.

    “Developers' appetite for new sites remains undiminished and they are facing unprecedented competition for sites.  While the healthy rents being offered often reflect this, caution is urged when chasing developer’s chequebooks. Landowners and farmers must have their eyes wide open when considering proposals from developers and place close attention to the clauses put forward.  Not only should sufficient protection to the landowners rights be included, but there should also be a clear commitment to developing the project within a reasonable time-scale, rather than land-banking the site.”

    However, developing a workable energy project 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 possibly lease negotiations. Is there really enough resource whether it be wind, water, etc 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? 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, he said.  If planned properly a project can deliver real benefits, but it is not a an exercise that should be undertaken 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.


    Key contacts

    Nick Green

    Nick Green

    Energy & Infrastructure

    Savills Perth

    +44 (0) 1738 477 518

    +44 (0) 1738 477 518