A number of large companies in the global renewable energy sector have expressed ambitions to enter into formal partnerships with Intelligent Land Investments (Renewable Energy), a Scottish investment management company based in Hamilton, Lanarkshire.
ILI RE focuses on the creation of planning gain for landowners and leaseholders through renewable energy projects such as onshore wind and hydro. The company secures prime strategic sites for renewable energy installations and uses its expertise to steer projects through local authority planning processes. Once the site is developed, guaranteed revenue for the client is created through the government’s Feed-in Tariff.
The outside investors come into the equation once the application has been granted in order to help fund the cost of development, which can run into millions of pounds involving turbine acquisition, site excavation and preparation, equipment installation and construction of related infrastructure and services. The investor purchases the formal consent agreement from ILI RE and agrees to pay for all development costs on behalf of the landowner in return for a 90 per cent share of the revenue on a long-term basis. The 10 per cent share for the landowners makes for an attractive financial return without any additional investment for them. According to Mark Wilson, CEO of ILI RE, five organisations – two from Spain and one each from England, Portugal and Germany – whose identities cannot be revealed at this stage due to reasons of commercial confidentiality, have entered the Scottish market and are looking to partner with the company.
So far, 76 planning applications on behalf of landowners and leaseholders – many of them farmers – have been consented and a significant number of other applications are at different stages within council planning procedures at the moment.
“Now that the uncertainty over Scotland’s future has been settled in the referendum, the renewables market has turned a corner, and investors who were holding back are now committing to numerous projects in our country” Mr Wilson said. “I see this as a great time for Scotland, as the momentum for achieving renewable energy goals is really getting traction. We are seeing directly all the good that these turbines are bringing. Not only do they give a much-needed lifeline to the farming community but local contractors are getting the majority of the construction work, meaning significant funds are going directly to the local community. All these are positives before we even consider the benefits to the environment.”
The company has structured a business strategy that puts the landowner first and is working alongside set government strategies to push the growth for single rural turbines within the feed-in tariff. ILI RE also enters into partnerships with community support groups and charities to spread the benefits of a local renewable energy installation. The company expects several million pounds to be paid out to such groups in the next few years, a figure that will increase as more sites come on stream.