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Ask The Legal Expert: Renewable Energy

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"I have been approached by a renewable energy firm who wants to use a section of my land for energy storage. They are offering good rates and I’m interested. Are there any risks I should be aware of?"

Farmers and landowners have, for generations, had to consider and explore multiple income streams and the recent boom in the renewables industries has created many new revenue opportunities.

With farm incomes under pressure and with fears over subsidy payments in our post-Brexit world, the need to think creatively has never been more apparent for those who make their living from the land.

Many farmers have benefited from these growing opportunities by hosting turbines, solar, anaerobic digestion and hydro equipment. However, I cannot overstate the importance of getting the legalities sorted out before you grant anyone rights to use your land – even temporarily.

Don’t be hasty to sign up in order to qualify for a better deal – this can come back to haunt you when problems begin to arise.

Land owners are being approached to enter into agreements – called Option Contracts - with energy storage developers, which bind them in to giving a lease, or to sell land at a later date if the developer gets the relevant regulatory approval.

I strongly advise land owners who have already been approached to seek specialist legal advice before they sign any agreement, to ensure they are paid appropriately and to make sure they aren’t leaving themselves open to any potential environmental liability in the future.

It is wise for land owners who have land close to a sub-station site to be aware that they are likely to be approached too.

For more information on how our specialist Rural Practice team could help you please click here.