Landowners are being urged to act quickly by Fisher German’s renewables experts to take advantage of higher tariff payments for wind turbines.
Applications for preliminary accreditation submitted before December 31 will lock landowners into receiving the current higher feed-in tariff payment for 12 months while the turbine is installed and commissioned.
From April 1 next year there will almost certainly be a 20 per cent reduction in feed-in tariffs for small and medium-sized wind turbines.
Mark Newton, a partner and head of renewable energy at Fisher German in High Street, Market Harborough, said landowners should act now because there was expected to be a big rush to build wind turbines before March 31, 2014, if the project has not received preliminary accreditation.
“The moral of all renewable projects has been that it is imperative to get them built as soon as possible in order to lock in to the higher feed-in tariff rates,” he said.
“The longer you wait, the greater the chance of the feed-in tariff rates being reduced and the potential for the project not being so viable.
“Many landowners are trying to gain pre-accreditation before December 31 this year to guarantee receiving the existing higher feed-in tariff rates for the following 12 months, which for a 100-500kw project is 18.04p/kwh.
“But to achieve this, landowners need to have obtained planning permission and have a grid connection agreement in place.
“Twelve months might sound like a long time away but for large wind turbine projects there can often be lengthy delays in getting the grid connection, securing the finance and ordering the turbine, so time is of the essence.”
Mr Newton said if the 20 per cent drop came into effect from April 1 next year it is likely wind turbine projects on lower wind speed sites would not be as attractive, reducing payback from an average of seven to 10years.
He added: “We would hope that if the feed-in tariff rates do come down, that there will be a reduction in the price of wind turbines to ensure the UK market for wind is still viable, but this is not guaranteed.
“Historically, as feed-in tariff payments have gone down this has been partially offset in the last three years by increases in the electricity price and we expect it will keep increasing above inflation over the next few years.
“Looking ahead to next year, if deployment in the first six months of 2014 is exceptional, then further degression rates could be applied from October 1, 2014.
“But as things currently stand, we would urge landowners to seek expert advice to take financial advantage of the current higher feed-in tariff payments before degression reduces the rates.”
For more information about Fisher German, visi its website at www.fishergerman.co.uk.