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Landowners move to renewables

A poll of landowners who visited the CLA Game Fair last weekend has revealed that 92% of them are consiering the introduction of some form of renewable energy schemes on their estate.

The survey, conducted by Knight Frank, found that 80% said the introduction of the renewable energy feed-in tariff had encouraged them to investigate renewable energy schemes.

Wind power was the most popular form of renewable generation, with 56% of respondents saying they would consider putting turbines on their land. Solar photovoltaic was considered an option by 52% while 28% were interested in hydro schemes and 24% in anaerobic digestion.

Christopher Smith, head of Knight Frank’s Renewables and Energy department, says: ‘The results of our survey confirm the appetite of rural landowners for renewable electricity generation. They also show how successful the introduction of renewable energy feed-in tariffs has been in encouraging people to invest in renewable schemes. Of the people we questioned only 8% currently generate renewable electricity on their estates, now we have FITs almost 100% are planning to get involved in some sort of way.

‘Because feed-in tariffs are guaranteed for up to 25 years they offer landowners a long-term income generation stream. For many estates that have seen their agricultural incomes fall sharply, renewable energy will completely transform their balance sheets.

‘On one estate that I looked at two modest 275kw wind turbines will increase the annual income from £150/acre to £400/acre.

‘Renewable energy also offers the potential for pension planning. One client, for example, is considering investing his pension pot in a photovoltaic scheme that will cost £350,000, but will generate an annual income of £35,000.

‘I believe that renewable energy will become an increasingly common revenue generator on rural estates as almost every estate can benefit in some way.’