Farmers urged to invest in renewables

Ben Collard
Ben Collard

FARMERS in the Borders and north Northumberland can maximise the return from their land by investing in renewable energy.

This is the message from Ben Collard, director of gfw-Renewables, who are hosting a dedicated renewables seminar in Kelso next month.

The free seminar, being held at Kelso Race Course on Wednesday, April 6, will present practical advice from a number of experts. The event will cover the dos and don’ts of commissioning a wind turbine and solar pv array. Those rural businesses and landowners attending will be presented with the latest independent information so that they can make the most of their energy potential.

Topics covered will include:

The future for Renewable Energy – Update on Feed in Tariffs and the Renewable Heat Incentive; Finance – reducing risk and understanding realistic payback; Challenges to generating your own electricity – what to look out for and how obstacles can be overcome; Grid Connections – understanding the process; Solar Power (PV) and Wind Energy – technical challenges and solutions.

Ben explained: “The timing of the event is extremely important for all who are considering a renewable energy product. The current feed-in tariffs are guaranteed for technology generating by March 2013, and land occupiers need to act quickly, if they are to have a realistic chance of success,

“With the rising cost of fuel and energy particularly affecting rural areas, generating your own power is looking increasing appealing. However when it comes to successful renewable energy projects, there is a fine line between success and failure.”

Renewable Energy is an opportunity to drastically reduce energy bills and to make money by selling electricity back to the national grid says Ben.

“Both the government and the private sector are offering schemes to make renewable projects easier to finance and quicker to produce a return on investment. For projects built within the next two years (by March 2013) there are guaranteed Feed in Tariffs giving payments for 20-25 years with an 8-15% ROI. Compared to the interest rates offered by banks this is extremely attractive. Farmers now also have access to soft loans and third party developers who can offer a ground rent or ‘free’ electricity deal.”

The seminar on April 6 is free to attend but places must be booked in advance by contacting Paul Young at George F. White on 01665 600164 or by email on paulyoung@georgefwhite.co.uk.