Soaring energy prices and the need to replace lost revenues as farm incomes come under pressure is driving fresh interest in renewable energy projects.
Strutt & Parker’s energy team is using special mapping software to help UK landowners identify if they have land suitable for a renewable energy project – such as a solar farm, battery storage or wind turbines.
The software produces a one-page report offering landowners an insight into where opportunities might lie and points possible barriers to a planning application, says Tom Charles, associate director at Strutt & Parker’s Norwich office.
“Now is a good time to investigate whether an energy project might be a possibility for a land-based business,” he says. Rents of £2,500/ha are available for solar farms and battery storage generating about £2,000/MW.
“With electricity costs spiralling and energy security becoming a bigger priority, it is anticipated that sites are going to be looked at more favourably within the planning system moving forward.”
Ideally land should be Grade 3 or below as any Grade 1 or 2 development is likely to meet resistance during the planning process. The tool also takes into account flood risk, ecological concerns and proximity to listed buildings or scheduled monuments.
The resulting report includes details of local grid capacity, where this is made available by the local Distribution Network Operator. The main limitation for any renewables project will be grid capacity, which is becoming increasingly constrained.