Galbraith Energy Matters Summer 2021

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ISSUE 22 | SUMMEr 2021


Why wind turbines are aiming for new heights




Joined-up generating: The advantages of co-location ‘Clean and green’ Energy White Paper published at last Connecting the countryside: £1bn boost for rural 4G




By Mike Reid Head of Energy

Hot houses: Lawmakers are at last addressing greenhouse gas emissions from buildings in the battle against global warming. But effective change presents challenges.

Why we need to get back to ‘normal’ as soon as possible This is a crucial year for the environment. In November, Glasgow will host COP 26, a UN-led conference where world leaders, climate experts and campaigners meet to step up the fight against climate change. The targets set by many participants, now including the US, are ambitious – as they need to be in order to hold the increase in average temperatures to well below 2℃ above pre-industrial levels. Sales of petrol and diesel cars will be banned from 2030. Scotland has pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2045, five years ahead of the UK as a whole. However, the scale of transformation required, highlighted in a new book by Bill Gates, necessitates our return to a properly functioning economy – and we won’t have that until Covid is under control and lockdown is lifted. The changes required to combat Covid have had a significant impact on many people but dealing with the pandemic is a relatively short-term problem. Confronting climate change will

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be a much greater challenge, with far wider consequences if we don’t adapt our ways. Natural capital – the stock of natural resources and services all over the world that are essential to human wellbeing – is being depleted by climate change, yet remains a vital weapon in the fight against it.

8 Height fantastic: Wind turbines taller than the new Queensferry Crossing are on the way as part of the quest for improved efficiency.

6 Pandemic plus: Finding new ways of working has been one of the few upsides of lockdown.

Essential assets such as land, soil and water, and their custodianship, are becoming the focus of measurement, regulation and investment as we all work together to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions and tackle climate change. In renewable energy, forestry, infrastructure and utility services – in everything we do – Galbraith is working with our clients and partners to protect and enhance natural capital. But there are limits to what can be achieved during the current restrictions, and the sooner we’re back to ‘normal’, the quicker we can help change the world for the better.

10 Connected countryside: A Government-backed project is investing more than £1 billion to increase rural 4G coverage throughout the UK.

17 Clearer signal: The rules of the Electronic Communications Code are at last becoming clearer as work progresses on upgrading the mobile network.

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Energy Matters is produced by Allerton Communications, London, and designed by George Gray Media & Design, Saint-Andeux, France. © CKD Galbraith LLP.

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16 Slow, slow, quick, quick, slow... Progress is being made connecting rural areas to fast broadband – but some obstacles are difficult to remove.

6 COP26 and beyond: Scotland and the UK will grab the limelight when the 26th UN Climate Change Conference takes place in Glasgow in November.

14 Taxing times: Covid-19 hit public finances hard, but recovery presents opportunities for environmental reform.



Road to recovery: The much-delayed Energy White Paper stresses the need for a ‘clean, green’ recovery from Covid.

Going greener: As we emerge from the pandemic, Galbraith is considering how sustainable working practices can be adopted in a balanced manner as we work towards net-zero carbon.

10 A new harvest: Climate crisis targets are changing everything – and for farmers, that includes producing environmental benefits.

15 12 All together now: Co-location – combining two or more renewable sources and/or energy storage on one site – offers unique prospects for developers to boost productivity while cutting costs and timescales.

AECS returns: The right kinds of rural project could attract funding as a restricted round of the AgriEnvironment Climate Scheme opens for applications.

17 Current renewable energy subsidies. | Energy Matters | summer 2021 | Page 3


On the road to a

The Government’s plan to end net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 is nothing if not ambitious. Mike Reid reports.

ThE Covid crisis seemed to spring from nowhere yet has presented a huge challenge to the UK population and economy.

the UK will present in November to COP26 – the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference, taking place in Glasgow.

The pandemic is said to have led to more than 120,000 UK deaths, bringing pain, sadness and distress to many.

The plan is to transform energy generation and distribution to (a) build a cleaner, greener future, (b) support a ‘green recovery’ from the pandemic – creating 220,000 jobs in new industries as well as export opportunities, and (c) ensure a good deal for consumers.

The much-delayed Energy White Paper, finally published in December after repeated political change at the top, stresses the need for a ‘clean, green’ recovery from Covid. It also shows the Government is getting serious about the challenge of achieving ‘net zero’ by 2050 – that is, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and offsetting any remaining, neutralising environmental impact and slowing climate change. The paper builds on the prime minister’s ’10-point plan’, the national infrastructure strategy, the Climate Change Committee's sixth carbon budget, and the ‘Nationally Determined Contribution’, the UK’s new commitment to cut emissions by 78% from 1990 levels by 2030. It’s a vitally important document as it sets out the legislative intentions of a Government with a large majority, while addressing the net zero plan

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The scope and ambition of the 170-page document is huge, as it should be, considering the scale of investment likely to be required, nagging scepticism as to whether the net zero target is achievable in the 29-year timeframe or at all, and the countless ways in which things could go wrong. Amid all this is the key requirement to keep consumer bills affordable, especially for vulnerable and low-income households. No element of energy will remain unaffected and most industries can expect major change, whether as customers or suppliers. The Government wants Britain to be a showcase for a new global economy based on innovation and turning concern for the environment into action.


Through a so-called Net Zero Innovation Portfolio, ministers will launch a competition to hasten commercialisation of ‘first-of-a-kind’, longer-duration energy storage, part of a £100m Government spend of storage and flexibility innovation. Environmental concerns are close to home for Boris Johnson and the ‘Prime Minister’s 10-point Plan’, much cited in the white paper, encompasses offshore wind – enough to power every home, quadrupling production to 40GW by 2030. The PM’s generation plans call for 5GW of lowcarbon hydrogen for industry, transport, power and homes. Nuclear, including from small reactors, will help plug the gaps left by intermittent renewables. On transport, the Government backs electric vehicle manufacture plus a national charging infrastructure, as well as better public transport and making cycling and walking more attractive. It wants to transform hard-to-decarbonise sea and air transport through research for zeroemission planes and ships. Homes, schools and hospitals will be greener,

No element of energy will remain unaffected and most industries can expect major change.

warmer and more energy-efficient, with a target to install 600,000 heat pumps every year by 2028. Underlining the need to revitalise regions, ministers will push carbon capture, usage and storage (‘CCUS’) technology, again targeting industries that are difficult to decarbonise. The strategy calls for planting 30,000 hectares of trees a year, like other initiatives, bringing thousands of jobs. The white paper stresses the need for innovation and finance to find and advance the cutting-edge technologies needed to reach the net-zero deadline while making the City the global centre of green finance. It’s an ambitious plan but as Daniel Burnham, a founding father of modern Chicago, said: “Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood … Make big plans; aim high in hope and work.” 07909 978642 | Energy Matters | summer 2021 | Page 5

The upside of lockdown: finding new ways of working The pandemic has brought problems for GIS – geographic information systems – but also opportunities. Daniel Campanile reports. FOr most of us, 2020 was dominated by the pandemic and everything that came with it. This created a series of business challenges for those involved with geographic information systems.

COP26: When the Scotland and the UK will grab the limelight when the 26th UN Climate Change Conference takes place in Glasgow in November. Richard Higgins considers what comes next.

rather than focus on the already well documented negatives, I find it more interesting to see how 2020 forced us into new ways of working and thinking that can be viewed as positive. The single biggest change for GIS has been remote working – ensuring staff can still function productively while no longer having the ease of data access, resources and other staff that were taken for granted in the traditional office environment. remote working has emphasised the need for robust data management. Numbers and distributions of staff have fluctuated over the course of the year, with staff on furlough, returning, moving into other roles in different parts of the business, and new graduates. All this has resulted in the need for staff with GIS skills to be able to locate and do work they never started, to hit the ground running and avoid wasting time. Many staff who do GIS work have adjusted to this, highlighting their resilience and initiative. It is now normal for our staff to use a VPN connection and a remote desktop environment for running GIS software and getting to their mapping data regardless of where they are. Video and screen sharing are now also the norm for support, troubleshooting and training where in the past sessions needed to be booked in advance and costly travel to offices undertaken. For those who are adapting, these technologies have been a glimpse of what is now possible. Finally, the pandemic has brought GIS into sharper focus. From the distribution of cases to understanding the geographic restrictions as they changed from month to month, much of the reporting could not have been visualised so clearly without GIS and the use of good maps. Focusing on us as a business, with this reminder of the power and usefulness of GIS comes an opportunity to consider work a little further from our traditional sphere of influence that might otherwise have been overlooked. 07500 794928

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COP26 will bring together heads of state, climate experts and campaigners – the ‘parties’ to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change – to agree coordinated action to tackle what many consider the biggest threat to life on our planet. Originally scheduled for November 2020 but postponed due to Covid and the lockdown, the conference will unfold at the Scottish Event Campus on 1-12 November – unless it is delayed again. It’s a high-level talking shop occurring at top governmental and diplomatic level, so in a sense the implications are all global, but let no one underestimate the importance to the UK and Scotland. The fight against global warming should gain valuable additional impact and support since our close ally the US returned to the 2015 Paris climate accord soon after Joe Biden became president. That committed world leaders to tackle climate change, holding the increase in average temperatures to well below 2˚ above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the rise to 1.5˚. The UK’s COP26 presidency makes the country a big player in environmental affairs. Whatever one’s views on Brexit, the UK can act alone on climate change while continuing to build alliances with the EU and beyond. December’s Energy White Paper contained a surprising amount of detail on how the UK will fulfil its promise to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This Government wants everyone involved, being “committed to working with all countries and joining forces with civil society, companies and people on the frontline of climate change to inspire action ahead of COP26”. Land, farming, infrastructure and property all have big roles to play. The transition driven by COP26 and its predecessors will be undertaken by, and resonate through, all areas of activity –

world beats a path to Glasgow energy production and distribution, transport, infrastructure, property and in the growing field of natural capital, whereby land, forests and rivers are curated to deliver services while protecting the environment. Increasingly, investors are dropping dirty industries for clean alternatives while the UK is emerging as the global centre for ESG finance, promoting environmental, social outcomes and good governance in business. In February 2020, the Bank of England launched a COP26 Private Finance Agenda to help fund the global economy transition. This aims to ensure professional financial decisions take climate change into account, with every company, bank, insurer and investor adjusting business models for a low-carbon world. Young people are witness to rising temperatures, destructive storms and failing crops, whether directly attributable to climate change or not. Targeting the next generation worldwide, Italy, as COP26 organising partner, is this year running a series of virtual meetings and some special live events in Milan. The Scottish Government set out its stall as a champion of the energy transition with a strategy to phase out sales of new diesel and petrol cars by 2030, 10 years ahead of the rest of the UK, though the Westminster government has since moved the UK target date to 2030. In its 28 January Budget, the Scottish Government pledged £1.9bn to tackle climate change and create green jobs. Ministers aim to transform heat and energy efficiency of

Scotland stands to benefit more than most from the energy transition due to its history and accumulated skills.

buildings and cut fuel poverty while decarbonising an area accounting for much of Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions. Scotland stands to benefit more than most from the energy transition due to its history and accumulated skills as an oil and gas provider, natural resources such as hydro-electricity, offshore wind and tidal generation, forestry and woodlands, and as host to leading research institutions. The Highland port of Nigg is transforming from the UK’s largest producer of oil and gas installations to its biggest offshore wind supplier of steel towers and foundations for offshore wind, showing a sector adapting fast in a new, green industrial age. Assuming we’re free of lockdown by November, COP26 will provide a valuable international marketing opportunity for Glasgow, whose council is recruiting volunteers to ensure things run smoothly, and potentially a major boost to the West of Scotland economy. For the rest of us, after two years of uncertainty and disruption, a decade on from a financial crisis, let’s aim for green recovery, embracing a greener future that creates sustainable jobs and addresses the challenges of health, climate change and biodiversity loss. 07717 581741 | Energy Matters | summer 2021 | Page 7

Wind turbines are set to reach ne The push for improved efficiency will see onshore wind turbines taller than the Queensferry Crossing. Mike Reid reports. FOLLOwiNg the end of the renewables Obligation scheme in 2017, the focus of onshore wind turbine development has changed from turbines erected to benefit from subsidy payments to turbines that maximise the generating potential of the wind resource. The maths on wind turbines is relatively simple: bigger is better. Specifically there are two ways to produce more power from the wind in a given area.

amount of power it produces relative to its potential. There are engineering challenges with the design and materials which can stand up to the stresses that come with this increased height and higher wind speeds. However, the rewards are significant if you are able to maximise the energy production from the site. When wind turbines were first deployed in Scotland they were often described as being higher than the Statue of Liberty, which is 93 metres high. That edifice is set to be dwarfed by the turbines of the future which, at about 250 metres to tip height, are 43 metres higher than the Queensferry Crossing, only one metre lower than the summit of Arthur’s Seat and 50m shorter than the Eiffel Tower.

The first is to erect turbines with bigger rotors and blades to cover a wider area, which increases the capacity of the turbine, and the second is increase the tip height higher into the sky where the wind blows more steadily. That increases the turbine’s capacity factor, which is the total

Queensferry Crossing 207m

statue of Liberty 93m

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Next generation wind turbine 250m

Arthur’s seat 251m

Eiffel Tower 300m

ew heights Wind power in Europe is increasingly moving offshore, where turbines can be even taller, but there is still a place for onshore wind generation. Onshore turbines run into various limitations such as concerns over visual amenity, ornithology and shadow flicker – whereby rotating blades cause irritating shadows – transportation and infrastructure pinch points as well as other land use concerns. Scotland is the windiest country in Europe with around 25% of the continent’s wind resource. We should aim to maximise the potential energy generation from this resource and taller, more powerful, wind turbines are a part of this future, but they must be appropriately sited to generate the power we need while not adversely impacting the natural beauty of our landscape. 07909 978642

Closing the reality gap on zero emission housing Lawmakers are at last addressing greenhouse gas emissions from buildings in the battle against climate change. But as Calum Innes reports, effective change presents challenges. sCOTLANd is striving to be a world leader in decarbonisation – the Climate Change (Emissions reduction Targets) (scotland) Act 2019 creates a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2045. The Edinburgh Government recently released a consultation on setting new housing standards to cut emissions to achieve net zero. As some 20% of such emissions come from buildings, the proposed New Build Heat Standard would from 2024 require heating that produces zero direct greenhouse gas emissions in all new homes and non-residential buildings. Of course, improved specification of the building’s fabric is essential but instead of gas central heating, new builds

As a quarter of homes in Scotland face fuel poverty every year, replacing gas heating will need to be affordable.

will feature ground- or air-source heat pumps or potentially even hydrogen heating systems. However, heat pumps use a lot of electricity, increasing demand on the grid at a time when Scotland aims to generate all electricity from renewables. As a quarter of homes in Scotland face fuel poverty every year, replacing gas heating will need to be affordable. We have previously looked at projects involving local generation in terms of solar PV and potentially battery storage to reduce electricity

costs; but such solutions require significant capital expenditure. The proposals are laudable, but not without challenges, as recent experience shows. Galbraith has been involved in a housing development for some 20 years from the start of site promotion through the development plan to the granting of planning permission for five phases, each in the order of 200 house units. For the first two phases, heating was provided by mains gas, but when the third came to be developed last year, the mains supply was deemed insufficient and an alternative was required. Given the pressure for renewables we see above, you might consider technology such as heat pumps would be favoured, but the developer chose instead to use liquid petroleum gas. Why? Because customers are familiar with LPG, the availability of servicing engineers, and air-source heat pumps would encroach into limited space outside. The next development phase will be different, but what needs to happen to achieve the political aspirations? • Supply chain – last year some 22,000 new houses were built in Scotland. At present there is insufficient renewable technology manufacturing capacity for that scale of demand. • Enhance support infrastructure and training skills to deal with servicing and maintaining the technology. How will this be achieved? Major housebuilders will have to develop partnerships with specialist manufacturers to encourage production capacity, ensure supply and facilitate the necessary r&D.

07909 978643 | Energy Matters | summer 2021 | Page 9

Network scheme will benefit rural businesses and home workers Providers are dialling up better coverage in a £1bn 4G revolution. Callum Woods reports. PLANNEd improvements in mobile-phone infrastructure should see the greatest benefits across scotland, wales and Northern ireland. The Shared rural Network (SrN), a UK Government-backed project involving the four main mobile operators in the UK (EE, O2, Three and Vodafone), is investing more than £1 billion to increase 4G coverage throughout the UK. The project is targeting 95% 4G coverage by 2025 with coverage increasing by over a third in some areas. This will eliminate the locations where there is currently no coverage from any one operator, known as Total Not Spots (TNS). It will provide guaranteed coverage to 280,000 premises and 16,000km of roads, addressing challenges faced by rural businesses that their urban counterparts do not encounter. It is not only rural businesses that will benefit – so will the large number of remote workers who find themselves working from home more than a year on from the initial lockdown. Improved coverage will be welcome to those in remote and rural areas and will allow for better communication between colleagues and clients, with a stable connection facilitating effective remote working.

There are 124 new sites proposed for Scotland as part of the Shared rural Network.

There are 124 new sites proposed for Scotland as part of the Shared rural Network and these leases will be agreed under the Electronic Communications Code – Digital Economy Act 2017 (the new Code). If, as a landowner, you are approached as having a suitable location for one or more of these sites, it is highly advisable to take advice on the implications of these agreements from a surveyor who has suitable experience operating within the telecoms sector. Galbraith has already been instructed to negotiate over a third of these new SrN sites across Scotland and also has experience of agreeing many new Code leases under the previous EE ESN rollout programme, which is coming to an end. If you need advice about the SrN rollout or any other telecom matter, please get in touch and we will be delighted to assist. 07824 142069

Radical change is on the horizon Climate change targets are changing everything, Tom Warde-Aldam reports. For farmers, that includes producing environmental benefits. ThE passing of the Agriculture Act and the publication of ‘The Path to sustainable Farming: An Agricultural Transition Plan 2021-24’ have clarified that government income support for the rural economy is about to change radically. These are major developments and, although they apply only to England, similar provisions are likely to be enacted in Scotland sooner rather than later. Over the past two decades, we have seen financial support for agriculture move from commodities to land and now, via the Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS), to be targeted at ‘public good’ funding. This new focus is driven by the climate change challenges that face us all and is aimed at environmental improvement. The farming Industry is in a unique position to improve the environment as well as to mitigate and develop the actions needed to reduce global warming. ELMS, carbon sequestration and the development of Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) will be the mainstays of the agricultural industry’s actions to produce a better climate. In future years, farmers and land managers will be paid to

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The farming of ‘marginal’ land that does not yield competitively has to be redefined and contribute towards overall farm income.

Union, the Country Landowners’ Association, but also non-government nature organisations and the increasing activity of individual pressure groups, many of whom see an opportunity to promote special interest issues. At a national level, BNG is currently dealt with as part of planning policy in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). There is an emphasis on the need for renewed biodiversity to be resilient to current and future environmental pressures and for coherent ecological networks to be established, but there is currently no specified proportion of gain to be achieved. This is set to change as a result of the upcoming Environment Bill, to be debated in the next Parliamentary sessions. This includes a requirement for future developments and schemes to achieve a 10% plus BNG, to be maintained for a 30-year period. This Bill should be enacted in late-2021, making BNG a statutory development requirement by 2023 as one of the levers to help biodiversity to be in a better state post-development. It is reasonable to expect that planning applications determined a mere year from now will require at least a 10% gain as planning authorities start to implement their policies.

for farmers deliver these benefits. Few, if any, farmers will be able to ignore them. Because of these demands, approaches to farm and land management are set to change radically. As well as producing the best crops and livestock for a demanding food consumer, we are also going to be harvesting the environmental benefits that will allow the development of construction for homes, commercial premises and UK infrastructure generally. The agricultural industry is going to demand guidance, consultation, and planning. As professional advisers in the rural sector, we need to discover, develop and practise the frameworks needed to take advantage of these extraordinary changes in the industry. Future farm management is going to rely on ‘harvesting’ the support mechanisms available as well as being focused on profitable commodity, food and livestock outputs. The farming of ‘marginal’ land that does not yield competitively has to be redefined and contribute towards overall farm income. BNG may well be the route to using this marginal land to its best output and we will frequently have to reassess our traditional perceptions of value. ‘Public good’ and ‘doubling nature’ remain imprecise phrases. They still require clarification and are being developed through Natural England by debate and consultation across a wide array of stakeholders; not just industry representatives such as the National Farmers’

On this basis, many current projects already being promoted through the local planning process will require BNG measures and the requirement for BNG solutions will rapidly come to the fore. This will involve integrating biodiversity enhancement into on-site measures or funding off-site schemes that provide the desired biodiversity gain. The aim of the policy is to mitigate biodiversity loss because of development and help to restore and grow ecological networks. As professional advisers, we currently have an unprecedented opportunity to help mould the next generation of farm and land management techniques and opportunities. The status quo is changing and we need to ensure that we help steer it in a direction which can help sustain the viable core of our existing industries. At Galbraith, we are already actively involved in a major proposal for BNG delivery on a farm-scale project. This cutting-edge initiative involves detailing the delivery process, assessing potential returns and negotiating and documenting contractual options. In tandem we are also in discussions with residential and commercial developers, planning authorities and landowners across England to explore opportunities and to help steer the practical application of the emerging policy. 07718 523032 | Energy Matters | summer 2021 | Page 11

Bringing it all together with renewable co-location Co-locating generation technologies with storage will grow with the rise of renewables and the need for grid stabilisation. Hugo Remnant and Philippa Orr report.

ThE UK aims to be at the forefront of the green industrial revolution by generating 65% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030 in order to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. We are already on track to achieving this, having cut carbon emissions by more than any similarly developed country. Advances in renewable energy technologies coupled with the mandated drive towards cleaner fuel sources mean we are starting to see more co-location – the combining of two or more renewable sources and/or energy storage on one site. Co-location offers unique prospects for developers to boost the productivity of existing or proposed infrastructure, reduce construction costs and shorten the development timescale. The attraction of co-location is shown by wellknown household utility companies’ plans to add solar panels to wind farms and, elsewhere, a super-battery to a Scottish wind farm. However, bear in mind that similar concerns and issues apply to co-location as to single renewable technology sites. It is important that landowners seek professional advice when approached by operators looking for suitable sites for projects such as solar arrays.

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Operators should be reputable, with a proven track record and an ability not only to deliver the development, but to manage it thereafter. Some operators will obtain a commitment from the landowner, and, as soon as they have obtained something of value such as a grid connection offer or planning consent, sell it on. Only a very few sites suitable for the generation of electricity are good for development. There must be capacity in the national grid at that point to receive electricity generated by a new power station, and a suitable point for connection into the grid. There will also be planning and other matters to consider. Having identified a possible opportunity, operators will generally want three things: • An exclusivity agreement so that they do not lose the value of their input in working up the site, only for the landowner to approach other operators; • A letter of authority without which the district network operator will not consider an application for a grid connection; and • Agreed heads of terms for an option agreement and lease. Typically, a solar array will require three to five acres of land to generate 1MW of energy, though

Working towards net zero carbon Like many organisations, Galbraith has had to adapt quickly to the Covid reality. Crawford Mackay reports.

gLAsgOw was due to host the UN Climate Change Conference last November. COP26 was billed as the most significant climate summit since Paris in 2015, but like many events in 2020, was postponed to this year. Despite the impact of Covid on COP26, the pandemic has shone a light on what can happen to carbon emissions in the short-term if we radically change the way we live and work. As country after country introduced lockdowns and restrictions, global CO2 emissions declined by about 7% in 2020, the biggest annual fall since the Second World War. In the UK we witnessed a fall of 13% due to a significant reduction in emissions from travel and industry.

as technical advances make panels more efficient, the land required to generate a set amount of electricity is falling. rental values for land vary from site to site, but landowners should always seek an agreement allowing for a minimum rental per acre or a rent linked to the productive capacity of the development, whichever is the greater, to protect themselves from falling land requirements. Feasibility and grid connection work are specialist fields. The costs escalate with success, culminating in a very costly final grid connection offer that will reflect the heavy engineering costs associated with accommodating the new connection. So pick your operator carefully, and be prepared to work with them in partnership to develop what might become a valuable new source of income.

07917 220779

07718 523051

Almost overnight, like every other business in the UK, Galbraith had to adapt to the new restrictions to continue to provide the services we always have. This has seen the introduction of new working practices and procedures to facilitate home working, principally through the increasing use of technology such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams. The short-term reduction in carbon emissions can be seen as one of the few positive outcomes of the pandemic, but what of emissions when the crisis finally subsides? Will carbon and pollutant emissions bounce back or will we have learnt the lessons to allow us to build a stable decarbonised economy? As part of the UKs recovery from the pandemic, Boris Johnson declared a policy to “build back better” with a fairer green economy and a focus on renewable energy. Alongside this, the potential for UK rural land to act as a carbon sink is significant, albeit there is the challenge of managing land use transition. One of the unintended consequences of the pandemic is that it has allowed businesses to think about the future, and in many instances accelerate the

adoption of technology and sustainable working practices. And Galbraith is no different. As we emerge from the pandemic we have to consider how these practices can be adopted in a balanced manner as we work towards net-zero carbon. Like any organisation, the first step is to understand our footprint and improve our reporting. This is already under way, allowing us to identify key areas of emissions and develop strategies to reduce these via energy efficiency improvements and other changes to working practices. The UK government has already committed to banning the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by the end of 2030. The continuing improvement in the capabilities of

The first step is to understand our footprint and improve our reporting. electric and hybrid vehicles should allow us to adopt these vehicles for travel to remote locations. Will offices operate in the same way they did before lockdown? I think it is unlikely, but we also should not underestimate the positive benefits of an office in developing a team culture and ensuring the best training and professional development. We must therefore ensure that the design and use of our office space is the most efficient for future working practices, together with employee health and well-being, while mitigating emissions. As an organisation, we are critically aware of the need to limit our carbon footprint. Our first priority is to adapt our working practices to reduce emissions wherever possible, but other measures may also be required. We are therefore working towards net-zero and how we can apply the lessons from the pandemic for a greener future. 07909 978641 | Energy Matters | summer 2021 | Page 13

A taxing way to a greener future The strictures prompted by Covid hit public finances hard, but recovery presents opportunities for environmental reform, says Mike Reid.

ThE Covid-19 pandemic led governments to implement unprecedented fiscal policy action as an immediate emergency response to the developing crisis. According to the Office for National Statistics, public sector net borrowing (excluding public sector banks etc) is estimated to have been £8.8 billion in January 2021, £18.4 billion more than in January 2020, which is both the highest January borrowing since monthly records began in 1993 and the first January deficit for 10 years. Estimated public sector net borrowing in December was £34.1 billion – £28.2 billion more than in December 2019 – both the highest December borrowing and the third highest in any month since monthly records began. The table below shows the overall level of public sector net borrowing from April 1993 to January 2021. The UK

national debt is now more than 100% of GDP which is at a level that hasn’t been seen since the early 1960s. To compound the situation UK tax revenues are also falling due to policies put in place to combat the effect of Covid on the economy. We are far from seeing the full economic impact of Covid but significant measures will need to be taken to put the UK finances back on an even keel. It is sobering to think that dealing with the pandemic will be a relatively shortterm problem whereas combating climate change will be the much greater challenge for the 21st century. Many people have inadvertently reduced their environmental impact by measures taken to restrict the spread of Covid and hopefully this impetus will be maintained in any recovery. Governments have the opportunity to implement green recovery packages

UK public sector net borrowing excluding public sector banks April 1993 to December 2020

with decarbonisation objectives which should assist a strong recovery while also building a more sustainable green future. One of the challenges with climate change is that the way we live our modern life has impacts on the climate which aren’t immediately apparent. Most people don’t pay anything for the damage they do to the environment by pollution from the petrol in their cars, the use of fossil fuels to create electricity to run their homes and the heat that escapes from inefficient properties. By the time the impact is visible it is likely to be too late to take any action to reverse climate change. Some people have already recognised the potential impact and are taking measures to make the necessary changes and others will certainly follow, but in order to implement the wholesale change needed Governments have to take the central role. Generally, for Governments to induce a desired behaviour they need to introduce either a carrot or a stick, or both. This is generally a mixture of taxation and subsidies. When devising a tax system to stimulate a green recovery, taxing the environmental polluter and providing incentives for environmental benefits should form part of any recovery package. However, it is a delicate balancing act, as any tax policy choices need to include provisions to protect the more vulnerable in society, promote people’s wellbeing and include overall environmental protection. We are living in exceptional times and the challenge ahead shouldn’t be underestimated but when this pandemic is under control there will be an exceptional opportunity for broader tax reforms to stimulate the economy and provide a greener, sustainable future.

Source: Office for National Satistics - Public sector finances,

Page 14 | Energy Matters | summer 2021 | 07909 978642

AECS: Funds are available to guardians of the landscape The right kinds of project could attract funding as a restricted round opens for applications. Rachel Russell reports.

ThE Agri-Environment Climate scheme (AECs) promotes land management practices that protect and enhance scotland’s natural heritage, improve water quality, manage flood risk and mitigate and adapt to climate change. The scheme forms part of the Scotland rural Development Programme (SrDP), which was approved by the European Commission in May 2015 with an initial budget of more than £1.3 billion to channel funds in to the rural economy. While the management options and capital items available were extensive, AECS opened a restricted round for new applications on 25 January 2021. As there wasn’t a normal AECS application round last year, although farmers were offered one-year extensions for any AECS contracts that expired in 2020, this is the first time applicants have been able to make a new application to this flagship agri-environment programme since 2019. Galbraith has knowledge and experience of incorporating AECS management into the current practical requirements of the farming operation and can advise on the AECS available in the 2021 round. This round is restricted to the following categories or application types: Organic farming: organic conversion and maintenance throughout Scotland; Protected areas: appropriate management directly benefiting designated sites, that is, management associated with designated sites that is appropriate for the direct benefit of the relevant feature, habitat or species; Management for priority bird species outwith designated sites: waders, corncrakes and corn buntings (specific to target areas); Slurry storage: applications for slurry storage provision in priority water quality catchments; and

Improving public access: applications to improve public access provision throughout Scotland. Funding under the scheme falls into two categories: annual payments for management options and payments for capital costs. Capital items are one-off activities that can be claimed for and paid once they have been satisfactorily completed. Annual payments for management options are set out in a contract, which is issued on submission of a successful application. Claims for capital items are more restricted this year and must be fully justified. The scoring criteria has also changed, so we would recommend that advice is sought. While this restricted round of funding is welcomed, the scheme forms part of Pillar Two of the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which to date has been co-funded by Europe and the Scottish Government, and therefore the level of any future support is unclear at this stage. The changes following our departure from the EU mean it is essential that anyone looking for funding is prepared and well advised to submit SrDP applications while they are available. The application requirements are specific to the category or application type. However, Galbraith has extensive knowledge and experience of AECS and we are therefore well placed to submit an application on your behalf before the application window closes on 30 June 2021. Advice on ongoing Scottish rural Development Programme plans and future applications is always available from Galbraith to safeguard this essential income stream. 07884 657219

Management option: Wild bird seed for farmland birds. | Energy Matters | summer 2021 | Page 15

Broadened horizons BT

Progress is being made in connecting rural areas to fast broadband, reports Nick Morgan, but some obstacles are difficult to remove. wE wrote in issue 21 about the growing importance of connectivity and how there is considerable disparity between regions across the UK. Figures from Ofcom show that among the slower average connection speeds in Scotland, Orkney and Shetland have 31.1 Mbit/s and ross, Skye and Lochaber come in at 31.4Mbit/s. These in reality are decent speeds, above Government UK-wide targets of at least 30Mbit/s. But they are well below what Ofcom says is the average, at 64Mbit/s, a figure that itself shows we have come a long way since the 56kbit/s days of the 1990s. While such figures give an indication of what’s possible in a given area, anyone looking to move to a specific postcode needs to do their due diligence. Speeds vary greatly even within small areas and are generally faster in cities and towns than in rural areas. Fast broadband is a huge issue for those working from home during lockdown and, as the economy seems to be moving unstoppably towards remote working, it’s vital that those in rural areas have the access they need to do their job. Andrew Maclaren and Lorna Philip of Aberdeen University wrote: “rural information and communications technology infrastructure supporting reasonable upload/download speeds and reliable connections is far from universal … as the pandemic took hold across the world … and highlighted existing territorial divides and the need for rural places to become more digitally connected.”

Why do we appear to be behind other European countries when it comes to effective rollout of highspeed broadband?

Why do we appear to be behind other European countries when it comes to effective rollout of high-speed broadband? There doesn’t appear to be any one factor to blame but rather a multitude of contributing issues – such as the condition and adaptability of the existing network, available contractual labour, legislation, consents, geography and landscape. There are some clever ways to get around what seems to be the preference for hard connections via cabling, which Callum Woods refers to in his article on telecoms (page 10). Where communities are too remote for fixed lines, satellites are doing the job. The slow progress made in awarding contracts for fibre broadband rollout became the subject of a legal challenge to the Scottish Government by one company tendering to deliver the necessary installations. We understand this case was settled – BT remains responsible for delivering each of the three lots allocated in Scotland. As a UK company with an almost 200-year history, it should know how to improve the network. That said, new fibre cables, especially in rural areas, are either buried very close to the surface or run on top of verges, presenting a possible impediment to lasting, effective communication. However, the managing director of Openreach, a

subsidiary that runs the UK’s digital network, said in December: “Openreach has the experience, people and passion to bring digital transformation to the very hardest-to-reach places … and the build in the North [of Scotland], with its wild and beautiful land and seascapes, will bring new challenges to test our engineering inventiveness.” Both Governments are still aiming to have 100% of the UK kitted out with superfast broadband and Holyrood now states 95% of premises in Scotland can now benefit from faster speeds, though is still offering improvement grants in the form of vouchers. I just wonder how many of us feel they sit within the other 5%. 07717 227404

Page 16 | Energy Matters | summer 2021 |

At last, a glimpse of code clarity Rules are becoming clearer as work progresses on upgrading the mobile network. Mike Reid reports. ThE government introduced the new Electronic Communications Code in december 2017 to make it quicker and cheaper to roll out new telecom sites and upgrade old ones. Its objectives have not been achieved as the mobile operators took the opportunity to try to reduce rents, in some cases by over 95%. This was met with resistance from landowners so a period of stalemate set in. Cases were taken forward to the Lands Tribunal for Scotland and the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) for English and Welsh cases. We have seen more tribunal cases in the three years since the new code came in than in the previous 30 years, but we are now starting to see clarity on some aspects of the new code. On Tower UK Limited v JH & FW Green Limited 2020 (the Dale Park Case) was the first to consider the renewal of a rural mast agreement in England. The tribunal adopted a three-stage approach to assessing the rental value taking into account the individual characteristics of the site: Stage 1: Assess the alternative use value of the site

This site was in woodland on a rural

estate with an estimated alternative rental value of £100/annum. However, where a site has genuine prospects for an alternative use, such as a yard or car parking, a higher figure may be appropriate. Stage 2: Consider the additional benefits to the tenant

There were specific benefits to the tenant granted in the lease, such as entering onto the landowner’s other land for temporary works, rights to install an emergency generator and to carry out trimming to the landowner’s trees. The tenant also benefited from a rolling break clause after five years. The Upper Tribunal awarded £600/annum for these rights. Stage 2 highlights the importance of agreeing the specific lease terms in conjunction with the site payment and not separately. Different lease terms or other circumstances would result in a different stage 2 figure.

occasional use of a temporary generator, increased access during upgrading activities and loss of amenity from the mast itself. The tribunal awarded £500/annum for these impacts but other sites may vary depending on their individual circumstances. The 3 stage assessment produced a rent of £1,200/annum, and while applying the same approach to other sites would result in a different figure, this does start to set a benchmark for other sites to follow. In reaching its conclusions, the tribunal recognised that the level of a consensual rent might feasibly be double that of a strictly no-network assessment allowing for an element of incentive given to the landowner and to avoid the cost of formal proceedings. The Dale Park Case may help some parties move closer to a consensual agreement but with tribunal cases ongoing and the Government consulting on whether further changes are needed to the code, full clarity on code agreements is still some time away.

Stage 3: Consider the adverse effects on the landowner

In this case these effects included the impact of third party access into the heart of a rural estate in close proximity to let residential properties, the 07909 978642

CURRENT RENEWABLE ENERgy SUBSiDiES The Galbraith energy team has researched the current subsidy regime to produce this reference guide for the most popular technologies. Subsidy levels are subject to change, so the figures given here are for guidance only.

Domestic Renewable heat incentive (Rhi) Tariffs revised during period 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021 Technology

Tariff p/kWh

Biomass boilers and stoves Current details of FIT rates, ROCs and CFDs can be found at The Feed-in Tariff and the Renewables Obligation scheme have both closed to new projects.


Air-source heat pumps


Ground-source heat pumps Solar thermal

21.16 21.36

Source: Ofgem.

Non-Domestic Renewable heat incentive (Rhi) Subsidy support was extended for both non-domestic and domestic schemes until 31 March 2022 with the intention that a new support mechanism is finalised for all future applications. Tariff name

Eligible technology

Eligible sizes

Small commercial biomass

Solid biomass including solid biomass contained in waste

Tier 1 Tier 2 Tier 1 Tier 2

3.15 2.21 3.15 2.21

Tier 1 Tier 2

3.15 2.21

All capacities Tier 1 Tier 2 All capacities <200 kWth <200 kWth ≥200 kWth ≤ 600 kWth

4.57 9.68 2.89 2.79 11.12 4.80

Medium commercial biomass Large commercial biomass Solid biomass CHP systems Water/ground-source heat pumps

Solid biomass CHP Ground-source & water-source heat pumps

Air-source heat pumps All solar collectors Small biogas combustion Medium biogas combustion*

Air-source heat pumps Solar collectors Biogas combustion

Large biogas combustion*

Tariff p/kWh


≥ 600 kWth


Source: Ofgem. Domestic and Non Domestic RHI Tariff Tables (Q4-2020/21) Tariff rates are displayed in pence per kWth and for installations with an accreditation date on or after 22/5/2018. * Commissioned on or after 4/12/2013. | Energy Matters | summer 2021 | Page 17

gALBRAiTh’S ENERgy TEAM combines years of unrivalled skill in all property aspects of energy, utility and infrastructure. On the move and from our 13 offices across Scotland and the North of England, we bring wide experience of renewable energy technologies and associated services. We’re with you, no matter what the circumstances.

OUR EXPERTS Battery Storage Mike reid, richard Higgins Biomass Mike reid Buying, Selling & Due Diligence Calum Innes, Mike reid Carbon Capture & investment Athole McKillop, Heather Coyle Compensation Claims richard Higgins, Nick Morgan, Mike reid, rachel russell Compulsory Purchase Schemes (all infrastructure) richard Higgins, Mike reid, Colin Stewart Feasibility Studies (renewables) John Pullen giS & Mapping Daniel Campanile hydro Power Dougal Lindsay, John Pullen infrastructure, Utilities & Wayleaves Nick Morgan, Mike reid, rachel russell investment (infrastructure & renewables) Calum Innes, Crawford Mackay, Mike reid Land Referencing Nick Morgan, rachel russell Minerals Peter Combe Planning Calum Innes, Joanne Plant, Harry Stott Project Management (renewables) John Pullen On-shore Wind Harry Lukas, Crawford Mackay, Mike reid, Hugo remnant Off-shore Wind richard Higgins Solar Mike reid Telecoms Mike reid Rating Calum Innes Valuation richard Higgins, Calum Innes, Mike reid

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Regional agents

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