SCOTTISH FARMERS with wind projects on their land may have been interested to read recent reports that turbines in Scotland provided a 44%increase in power to the National Grid during the first quarter of 2018, and that in January alone electricity from onshore turbines powered the equivalent of more than five million homes.

However, many will be wondering whether their turbines could or indeed should be generating more power – and more revenue. According to the head of Savills Energy, Nick Green, commissioning regular audits or 'health checks' of renewables projects, from both a technical and financial point of view, is essential to optimising their performance.

"While the general trend is positive when it comes to Scotland's renewables story, some farmers may have found that the returns from their own projects are not meeting their expectations," said Mr Green. "Coupled with projects diminishing in value after the early operating years, driven largely by subsidies being finite, farmers should ensure that their assets are working hard for them.

"This downward trend in value can be accentuated by increased operational costs as the project gets older," he noted. "However all is far from lost. Owners can mitigate against this by not accepting the status quo and ensuring their project’s performance is optimised and looking to review contracts such as power purchase agreements or financing arrangements.

"There is an active transactions market for operational renewables projects, so some farmers may also decide that now is the time to realise capital by selling their project to investors who are hungry for opportunities as a result of development activity dropping off after the reduction in subsidies over the last couple of years," he suggested.

"On the other hand, some farmers are taking comfort from the industry's success, by furthering their commitment perhaps by extending the length of planning consents, replacing turbines or investing in more."