The Winds of Change: Can I Move Developers or Bring a Project In-House?
|Topic:||Read Time: 5 mins|
| Landowner type:|
Independent landowners | Institutional landowners
|Energy: Onshore wind|
So, your wind farm lease is nearing its end and you’re looking to alter your current setup. Whether you want to change developers or are planning to move the project in-house, this handy guide should help you make the transition with ease.
Look, we get it. When your existing wind farm lease agreement comes to an end, you might not want to keep things the same.
And that’s fine.
So, if you’ve been thinking about moving developers or bringing your project in-house during the next phase of your wind farm journey – you’ll want to stick with us. In this quick-fire article, we’ll cover everything you need to think about at the end of your lease. From the steps you’ll need to take when researching new developers to securing appropriate electricity off-takers, we’re here to answer your burning questions.
Now let’s get to it.
Can I Bring My Project In-House or Can I Change My Wind Farm Operator or Developer?
If a landowner already has a wind farm on their land but wants to switch things up, then let us quickly run through the options available.
It’s entirely possible to bring a project in-house or change developers. But this is dependent on whether a landowner has opted out of the Landlord and Tenant Act.
If they have opted out, a landowner will be able to freely change site operators by researching similar sites and approaching any viable options.
Once a landowner has shortlisted their options, they can review proposals and work with the new site operator to extend planning permission. They’ll also need to work closely with their new operator to get other necessary consents and permits.
While this process is going on, a landowner should give valid notice to an existing site operator per their lease agreement. We suggest leaving at least 18 months or 2 years before your lease expires to set this process in motion.
This should give you all the necessary tools to enter your negotiation period with confidence.
Bringing a project in-house
If a landowner would prefer to bring their project in-house, the first thing they’d need to do is look into equipment suppliers.
The suppliers would each need to maintain and operate the wind farm successfully. The next thing landowners would need to do is secure an electricity off-taker (who would buy the energy!) and carry out any financial due diligence.
If the project isn’t self-funded, taking the project in-house would mean identifying potential funders, carrying out financial appraisals, and securing funding. After this process has been carried out, landowners will need to extend planning permission and secure any other relevant consents and permits.
Once notice has been given to the current site operator, landowners can agree on a plan to decommission the site or purchase existing equipment.
And that’s that!
P.S.: If you want to learn how to keep even more of the money you earn, check out our commentary on tax implications for wind farms!
We often get asked about the ins and outs of wind farms. So, if you’re wondering who owns the UK’s wind farms or whether farmers get paid decently to host turbines, we’ve got all the answers!
Join us as we uncover some of our most frequently asked questions about wind farms in the UK!
Who owns the most wind farms in the UK?
At the moment, Statkraft is the majority owner of four of the largest wind farms in the UK. This includes Alltwalis, Andershaw, Berry Burn, and Baille Wind Farm. Other major players are Hainsford Energy, EDF Energy, Scottish Power, and Baywind.
How much do farmers get paid to host wind turbines in the UK?
The amount that farmers get paid always depends on their lease agreement and the amount of rent paid. But generally, we’ve seen landowners receive a share of up to 20% of the total income generated by their wind farms.
Do wind farms devalue property?
It’s said that onshore wind farms can devalue a property by up to 12% within a 2km radius. It’s not a strict figure, though!
From speaking to our land agent partners at GSC Grays, we’ve discovered that turbines devalue land less than you’d think. We won’t say that there’s zero impact, but we’re here to share something interesting with you. We spoke with Ashley Dodgson MRICS, Senior Surveyor at GSC Grays and he explained that:
While wind farms can devalue property to a certain degree, it does depend on the individual situation and the specific location of the project. The degree of blight on the landscape is relatively minimal even in high-value land areas. Luckily, most of the fears surrounding visual impact tend to be temporary and take place purely in the planning stages. As developers can’t predict exactly how much visual impact there will be from proposed turbines, local residents and landowners are faced with uncertainty. This seems to be the factor. Once a turbine is operational, residents quickly realise that the turbines are not as visible or noisy as they expected.Ashley Dodgson MRICS, Senior Surveyor at GSC Grays
It’s worth mentioning that when there are wind turbines in an area, it also may make it easier for surrounding neighbours to apply for permission in the future.
Councils that have already approved projects in an area are more likely to let through several more. This isn’t a strict rule of thumb, but it’s certainly a pattern we’re noticing. Plus, if neighbouring properties are affected by access roads or maintenance, they’ll often receive a payment for this inconvenience.
The main thing we’ll say regarding devaluing is that people can’t always visualise how turbines will actually look. Whether that’s down to poor renderings by developers or the uncertainty surrounding a project’s scale – it’s understandable! But with most property prices bouncing back within 2 years of a turbine’s completion, there’s little to worry about.
How many barrels of oil does a wind farm replace?
According to the Green Finance Guide, a large wind turbine produces the equivalent of 200 barrels of oil a day. For reference, just one barrel of oil is enough to power a medium-sized car for over 280 miles or create the wax for 170 birthday candles!
There you have it: a quick guide to changing your wind farm developer and moving your project in-house!
If you’re still struggling with weighing up the pros and cons of switching things up, feel free to get in touch with our expert team. Not only can we help you assess your site and make sure you’re maximising income, but we should be able to clarify any questions you have about major changes to your project.