As national, EU and international pressure to meet carbon emissions targets continues, in the last quarter we have seen our clients deliver some innovative renewables projects, with real estate playing a major role.
We recently advised on the infrastructure for a Solar Farm, which when completed will provide up to 50 megawatts of electricity – enough to supply electricity to 50,000 homes. Interestingly, the project was not located in the deserts of Africa or the plains of Spain, but in one of the Home Counties here in the South East of England – not a part of the world immediately associated with endless hours of sunshine! Our real estate team worked closely with the landowners, local residents and solar infrastructure specialists to create a workable property structure that gave the solar farm the requisite property interests, while balancing the needs of the local residents who live close by. A feature of the deal we found interesting was the completion of a “Mitigation Deed” between the community and the developer in which the residents, instead of opposing the development through the planning process, actually supported it in return for a contractual promise from the developer to cultivate and maintain the surrounding countryside, by the creation of a “buffer zone” around the solar farm. This area was designated as a wildlife and nature corridor for the mutual benefit of the residents and local flora and fauna for the life of the solar project.
When construction is complete the project will be the largest solar farm in the UK.
Separately, we have also recently acted for a renewable energy business in relation to a large-scale installation of its biomass boilers for one of the largest poultry producers in the UK. Biomass is a sustainable, clean, low carbon energy source that produces 90% less carbon emissions than are produced using fossil fuels. Our real estate team carried out an extensive due diligence review of the installation sites for the company, which will now operate the boiler systems on an “Energy Supply Company” basis.