Despite well-documented challenges to the development of medium-scale wind projects throughout the UK, including grid connection issues and continuous degressions to the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) support mechanism, on-site turbine installations, if properly carried out, still offer considerable financial and operational benefits to UK landowners. Indeed, a single turbine of this scale can secure a significant additional income to a farm for the contract period of 20 years, often delivering a financial foundation for farming enterprises that will improve sustainability in the long term.
However, in light of the challenging market conditions, prospective independent power producers (IPPs) are now actively looking to manage the inherent risk involved in a substantial on-site wind energy investment. And whilst there still appears to be an appetite for landowners and farmers in Wales to investigate the potential for renewable energy, in these uncertain times it is important that IPPs secure the services of independent specialist providers to determine the technical and financial viability of prospective schemes.
Turning to the expertise of an experienced third-party advisor, such as Dulas, prior to crucial investment decisions has helped landowners to ensure that a project not only has the best chance of successfully negotiating the planning process, but also provides steady financial returns in the long-term.
For the Carmarthenshire installation at Rhosfach which is located approximately 10km north west of Llandeilo, Dulas was appointed to provide technical advice, enabling the choice of a turbine that was most suitable for the specific site – in this case a Norvento nED100 machine. Dulas also advised on project siting, environmental impacts, and the returns the landowner could expect to achieve over the 20-year lifetime of the turbine.
Dulas then acted as a planning agent, submitting the application to the local authority, resolving post-submission matters and working to successfully discharge planning related conditions. The firm’s longstanding expertise and heritage in working with the planning authorities on renewable energy projects throughout the UK ensured that the project secured permission following the first submission of the planning application.
This approach enabled the farmer to benefit from a low risk and low cost approach to securing consent and permission for the project prior to the installation of the turbine – without having to deal directly with the developer or manufacturer, which could ultimately have resulted in a reduction in return on investment.
“Historically, medium scale wind projects in the UK have been brought to the market via the services of developers and manufacturer-approved distributors.” said Alistair Marsden, Director, Dulas.”
“With the changes that have taken place in the UK FiT market, the importance of an independent perspective is becoming ever more apparent. We’re helping independent power producers to identify the best possible strategies for diversifying their incomes, before they commit to long-term developer and manufacturer agreements.”
Gerwyn Davies, the landowner at Rhosfach, commented: ‘We’ve been looking at diversifying the farm income via renewable energy for some time, and were initially concerned following the reduction to subsidy support. We have, however, been able to work with Dulas to bring the project together very efficiently, and anticipate seeing a return on investment in the near future.”