A GREEN energy specialist is winning work by linking up investors with people with land suitable for wind turbines in what it says is a win-win situation for everyone.
North Energy Associates is benefiting from the interest being generated by feed-in tariff (FIT) payments from the Government for wind-produced energy exported to the National Grid.
A network of merchant wind companies – businesses with capital but no land to site a turbine – have sprung up to take advantage of the Government incentives.
North Energy, which is based in Stocksfield in Northumberland, is working with businesses keen to invest in turbines of all sizes.
Nicola Smith, planning director with North Energy Associates, said: “The Government has bought into renewables. There has been a growing awareness in the last 10 years.
“There is a huge number of companies, often new ones, out there that want to make money from the feed-in tariffs.
“They will pay and there are two different ways. They pay someone else to do the research for them or they will find a site, screen it and they will enter into negotiations.
“We get a small finder’s fee and we make it a condition that we get the work, so it’s a way of bringing money into the company.” The work includes assessing a site’s suitability and carrying out the planning application.
The landowner, in return, receives a regular rental income and sometimes free or cut price electricity.
Smith said: “We are quite excited about this extra work and for landowners, it’s a good source of income, particularly tenant farmers.
“The money will benefit them or for people without family money behind them, there’s an offer from merchant wind companies. It’s fantastic if they’d like a bit more income.”
North Energy Associates, which itself is headquartered in a building heated by biomass, was set up 1992 with two part-time staff.
The consultancy now employs 11 people and also has a base in Yorkshire.
“We have an office in Sheffield. They do lifestyle analysis of greenhouse gas emissions. It’s looking at products and processes from cradle to grave,” said Smith.
“We did a lot of work for the biofuels industry on Teesside. We generally only work in the North East and Cumbria, but we did one job on the south coast recently and got them planning permission.”
In addition, the consultancy is helping businesses to reduce their energy consumption and therefore their bills.
Smith said: “Energy consumption reduction in offices is a growing area. It used to be available free from the Government, but we do that now for a small fee.
“When people are equipping new factories, we help them with the choice of machinery so they are not going to be hit big energy bills.
“There is a big bio-ethanol plant down south, which is pulling down lots of equipment that hasn’t been used together before.
“If you can get the right stuff in at the start, you can save on your running costs for the future.”
We are quite excited about this extra work and for landowners, it’s a good source of income