Byline: Karen Dent
THE number of farmers and landowners interested in harnessing renewable energy to generate power in Northumberland has shot up in the last two years.
There has been a 70% increase in the numbers inquiring about installing equipment such as wind turbines, anaerobic digesters, hydroelectric schemes and solar panels, according to land management agency Strutt & Parker. Its Morpeth office said a combination of potential returns on their investment, desire for self sufficiency plus Government incentives and targets, such as the newly launched Green Energy Charter, appear to have provoked the interest.
Land agent Holly McIver said: "When a farmer submits a planning application, for say a change of use or a new dwelling, many applications are now granted with a condition that 10% or more of the energy for the building must come from a renewable source.
"We, like other independent consultants, will come and view the property and advise on the renewable options available for the property, the potential grants available and the planning implications.
"Each and every property has its own characteristics and specifications and so there are no 'one size fits all' scenarios when it comes to renewables." Financial help is available towards funding some projects via Government schemes. Feed-in tariffs and the extension of renewable obligation certificates (ROCs), which aim to encourage power suppliers to source more electricity from renewable sources, can benefit small-scale producers, Ms McIver added. …