I co-hosted a meeting at the end of June at the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation(ECCI) to explore the possibility of standardising Option Agreements for renewable energy projects in Scotland. Dr Andy Kerr of ECCI and I have had numerous conversations over many months with various groups (communities, landowners, developers, operators, funders and lawyers) which have highlighted the problem of the mountain of legal paperwork required to deliver small to medium-sized renewable energy projects in Scotland.
We invited several lawyers, land agents, accountants and academics to discuss how we can simplify/standardise Option Agreements to try and encourage more access to the market, thereby generating higher volume of work and reducing legal transaction costs for landowners.
It became apparent that although landowners, developers, funders and operators have varied interests and their own specific concerns which need to be properly covered in the contract, they each share the common aim: to build a greener Scotland.
Streamlining and simplifying Options for local landowners and local groups will help avoid prolonged contract negotiations. Simplified agreements may also reassure lenders of the bankability of smaller scale projects. All this will assist the Scottish Government to reach the target of 500MW of locally and community-owned renewable energy by 2020.
Huub de Rooijen, the Crown Estate’s new head of offshore wind energy has recently spoken out about how offshore wind companies need to develop standardised contracts to reduce legal fees and help ensure that all parties secure a fair deal.
We need to stop wasting time and recognise the strength in collaboration and this new initiative seeks to achieve that aim for the small/medium green energy projects in Scotland.
Head of Commercial Property
0131 226 8222