The Irish Farmers Association (IFA) has secured the best possible wind farm development negotiations for farmers across Ireland and it is up to the individual farmer to seek professional advice on legal, tax and proper planning.
This is according to Jer Bergin, the association’s climate change and renewables spokesman, who noted a significant number of farmers across the Midlands have signed wind farm energy contracts, in the region of 1,000 farmers, within the past six months.
“We recently negotiated legal improvements for all farmers and retrospective improvements for approximately 200 farmers. These farmers are now happy. In general, farmers need to consider very carefully leasing their land to wind farm developers. A wind turbine is a permanent structure and it needs to be considered very carefully by farmers and farmer families,” he said.
The IFA published its strategy document on this area, entitled Harnessing Ireland’s Wind Resource for Renewable Energy Production.It sets out a useful reference for landowners/farmers. This report a guide to the financial arrangements between individual farmers and wind development companies.
The key elements include an annual payment during the period of the agreement of €1,000; minimum annual lease payments of 6000/MW or €18,000; a payment of three per cent of the energy price; and green credits up to year 15, and 5 per cent thereafter.
The agreement also sets out that there will be full compensation for any losses in terms of forestry losses, REPS, Area Aid and/or Single Farm Payment. The deal also includes consultation regarding location of access roads and a payment of €10,000-€18,000 on receipt of planning.
The document also proposes that all wind development companies establish a community fund for each wind project. The fund in question must last for the duration of the wind project and its value should be one per cent of the annual revenue generated by the project or €2,500 per megawatt, whichever is the greater, it recommends.
According to the IFA document, the current proposed development in the Midlands is projected to contribute €2.5bn in gross electricity income. “This is the same value as the total annual dairy exports and 1.5 times beef exports in 2011,” it noted.