Mark Newton, head of the Fisher German wind farm department,
recently spoke at a Blenheim Palace conference about making money
from wind farms. Mark pointed out that most landowners are not
aware that they can make further millions out of a wind farm
project if they are prepared to deal with the planning application
The traditional route most landowners follow is to allow
the wind farm company to take all the risk, deal with the
planning application and the costs involved which can be
in the region of £200,000 for the planning application
and a further £200,000 if the application goes to
appeal. Currently, in England, the success rate for wind
farm planning applications is approximately one in two
sites being approved.
Most landowners are not prepared to risk £400,000
and prefer to follow the usual route of having an option
agreement and then granting a 25 year lease to the wind
farm company. In addition the wind farm company are often
well versed in dealing with wind farm controversy something
the landowner may not be comfortable with.
When addressing the audience at Blenheim, Mark mentioned
that if landowners were prepared to spend up to £400,000
on a planning application and appeal and if successful,
the landowner could then sell the planning permission to
a wind farm company who would pay in the region of £200,000
- £300,000 per MW. For one of the best sites in Scotland
with the highest wind speeds, the capital value can be
up to £500,000 per MW.
If the average turbine for example is 2MW, the landowner
could sell the planning permission for an average price
of £400,000 - £600,000 per turbine. This means
the landowner would not only recoup the £400,000
planning costs on the first turbine but any further turbines
planned could produce the landowner serious money.
As by way of an example and assuming the average size of
the wind farm project is approximately 10MW, i.e. five
turbines, then this particular project will have a total
sale value of between £4 million to £6 million.
For an initial outlay of £400,000 the return on investment
of being able to pocket several million pounds profit is
a very attractive one indeed. The landowner could then
carry on farming the remaining land as the wind farm will
only be taking up about 1% to 2% of the land area. Understandably,
many are not prepared to pay the initial outlay and take
the risk, however, the rewards can be high and landowners
should be aware of their options.
Furthermore, if the landowner wishes to then take on the
building of the project, costs are £1 million to £1.3
million per MW so for a 10MW wind farm the total costs
are approximately £10 million to £13 million, with a projected
return of 10% to 20% to the owner depending on the wind
speeds. Encouragingly, banks are still lending money for
good wind farm projects.
If you are approached by a wind farm company and you want
independent advice, contact Mark Newton at Fisher German,
email firstname.lastname@example.org, telephone 01858 411215
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