The Renewables Group at Forsters has extensive experience in guiding landowners through the tricky but potentially lucrative process of agreeing a renewable energy project with an energy company or developer.

By Renewables, we mean all types of renewable energy including solar parks, offshore and onshore wind turbines, hydro-electric schemes and anaerobic digesters. The landowner will generally agree an Option Agreement allowing the developer to seek planning consent for the Renewables and, if successful, the parties will enter into a pre-agreed Lease.

Where landowners are considering entering into joint venture arrangements with the renewables provider and to invest in the project from the outset or to establish localised electricity generation schemes, we also have the expertise to advice on the corporate structures to facilitate this.

The growing climate change emergency places renewables at the top of the agenda for governments and energy companies, so there are plenty of opportunities for those with land in the right place and the willingness to make a long-term commitment. Arriving at the point when the parties are ready to do the deal can take years while the lease itself will likely be for thirty to fifty years. Consequently, the terms and agreements need careful thought and negotiation. Beyond the obvious challenges around the renewables infrastructure (i.e. the solar panels or wind turbines), landowners also need to consider the wider context of ecology, planning, taxation and estate management. They should also look ahead to decommissioning and ensure that the developer will take responsibility for clearing the site at the end of its life.

What we advise on

  • Acquiring strategic land and assembling suitable sites for renewable energy projects
  • Advising on approaches and initial approaches from developers
  • Pro-actively approaching energy companies and other interested parties
  • Coordinating with fellow landowners on joint renewable energy project
  • Advising on title issues including restrictive covenants, easements and wayleaves
  • Negotiating option agreements and leases that set out the renewable energy project terms
  • Surrendering and granting tenancy agreements to fit with the renewable energy project and ensure land is held most efficiently
  • Planning advice on the planning application and implementation of planning consent
  • Tax advice to manage the most efficient use of the proceeds from the renewable energy project
  • Ongoing monitoring of the agreement, implementation of its terms and handling disputes arising from it
  • Enforcing decommissioning provisions at the end of the term

Why Forsters?

We have advised landowners in the UK on dozens of renewables agreements, from start to finish. Consequently, we can advise on the both the key commercial points and the more specialist concerns of landowners and farmers. For example, on the one hand we can ensure that they benefit from future advances in technology that could increase the generating capacity of the project, or push back against unreasonable demands not to negotiate with other developers on neighbouring land. On the other hand, we can create and unravel tenancy structures, so land is held efficiently, or ensure that ancient trees are protected.

When acting for landowners, we work closely with their existing advisers (including the retained lawyers, agents and accountants) to bring complicated deals over the line. We meet landowners, inspect their potential sites, and help with the process of interviewing and selecting a business partner, whether it be a land promoter or an energy company. We offer a dedicated team who will see the project through all its stages, providing continued support and advice as it progresses.

Our Rural Land and Business team also have particular expertise in:

"They are very efficient - they respond to the smallest request very quickly."
Chambers UK