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Energy news - July 2024

A roundup of the latest energy news in July 2024, including Labour's renewable energy targets, solar installations with no upfront capital for high energy users, navigating land overage agreements for solar development, and the rise of net zero business parks.

What does a Labour government mean for the UK energy sector? 

What does a Labour government mean for the UK energy sector? 

Labour energy commitments

Following Labour’s election win, they are now looking to deliver on their ambitious manifesto targets relating to renewable energy and grid decarbonisation. We are expecting announcements this week on planning policy reform, including removing the de facto onshore wind ban. Below are some of the key priorities within the renewable energy sector that Labour have promised for the years to come.

Clean Power by 2030 

The UK has a legally binding target to have net zero carbon emissions by 2050. As a step towards this goal Labour plan to have a ‘cheaper, zero carbon electricity system’ by 2030, five years prior to the Conservative target of 2035. Labour believes that this commitment will create 650,000 jobs through direct and indirect jobs in ‘clean power, alongside opportunities for business, universities and investors’. 

To achieve this 2030 target Labour plan to: 
  • Quadruple offshore wind with an ambition of 55GW by 2030. 
  • Pioneer floating offshore wind, by fast-tracking at least 5GW of capacity. 
  • More than triple solar power to 50GW. 
  • More than double our onshore wind capacity to 35GW. 
  • New nuclear and extend the life of existing as well as backing new nuclear technologies including Small Modular Reactors. 
  • Investment in carbon capture and storage, hydrogen and energy storage. 
  • Double the existing target on green hydrogen.  

We will likely see the ‘de facto’ onshore wind ban, implemented by the Conservatives in England, lifted with the new government. We expect this policy change to open the market up to onshore wind developers. Already at Carter Jonas we have seen an increased interest from developers wanting to get ahead of the curve and be ready for the change in planning policy promised by the Labour government. 

Alongside these ambitions for energy generation, Labour recognises that the grid as the single biggest obstacle to the deployment of renewable energy generation. Their ‘Rewire Britain’ programme aims to work with industry to “unlock barriers” and upgrade the national transmission infrastructure.

Great British Energy 

Based on the available proposals from Labour, it appears that GB Energy will be a new, publicly-owned clean energy generation company. GB Energy will co-invest, in both emerging and established renewable technologies, alongside the private sector. To support this, Labour announced in their manifesto that, over the next parliament, £8.3 billion of funding will capitalise GB Energy.  There are no plans for this to become and energy supplier, which will not be much of a surprise given numerous collapses in recent years of firms who were new to the market. 

There have also been concerns that a state actor could use new powers to drive through development for projects. However, these are available for some projects currently, yet are used sparingly. Even on this key election promise, we would expect Labour to proceed in a balanced way with their new vehicle for energy project investment.  

In Summary

As anticipated, Labour has set out an ambitious and positive vision for a decarbonised electricity system and they have proposed policy change, funding and institution-building to make this a reality. There is a significant opportunity for British workers and companies to become experts in a process which will be required around the world, namely how we quickly electrify developed and developing economies. We will see if all these technology deployment targets are met, what matters is that this new government wants to focus on seizing this Net Zero opportunity.  

At Carter Jonas, with our well-established energy team and growing service lines, we are in a great position to continue supporting land and site owners, developers and consultancies across the energy sector. Get in touch if you need advice and support or have any questions on the opportunities and risks around the energy transition, as we believe things are about to go up another gear! 

How you can reduce your energy costs with solar installations requiring no upfront capital

Solar PV can provide onsite generation for buildings, and if well maintained, can last for 25 years. Solar installations provide a consistent source of energy generation, offsetting electricity previously consumed from the grid. Thanks to subsidies in previous years and a continually growing manufacture base for solar panels, the costs of equipment have come down consistently and there is an established contractor base. 

The Carter Jonas energy team have developed a partnership with a funder who will finance these solar installations on, or adjacent to, high energy use agricultural, industrial and commercial buildings without any upfront capital. They will supply the occupier with solar energy through a power purchase agreement for a price considerably lower than what they presently pay grid electricity. 

A suitable building will have an energy requirement of more than 300kVA and at least 1,400 square metres in roof space or neighbouring land for a ground mount system. 

There are a few options of how solar PV can be installed for these types of schemes: 
  • Rooftop solar – Best for large clear roofs e.g. warehouse, logistics, industrial units, medical centres, shopping centres, supermarkets. 
  • Car port solar – Car ports require large car parks e.g. out of town offices, park and ride, shopping centres. 
Ground mount solar – Using the same technology as in larger solar farms, ground mounted solar installations can be located on land adjacent to a building or site.  

If you want to go green and reduce you monthly energy bills, please contact: 

Stuart Campbell (Partner) >  

Harry Robertson (Associate Partner) >  

Jamie Baxter (Associate Partner) >  

Tommy Pipe (Graduate Energy Specialist) >


How you can overcome your land overage for solar development

Our valuation team was recently instructed by a client to provide advice on the settlement of an overage agreement on land being developed for a solar farm by the client. 

The overage agreement was a restriction on the land which required a portion of the uplift in value of the land (following planning permission being granted for the solar farm) to be paid to the previous owner of the land. Our valuation involved reviewing the overage agreement and then providing an assessment of the solar farm development and the existing use value of the land.  

We undertook the valuation and advised the client on the settlement value of the overage agreement. To add to the complexity, the client had received a grid connection budget estimate but had not obtained a grid connection offer at the time of our instruction. This meant that the grid connection cost was yet to be finalised and could be different from the budget. As the overage payment was to be triggered on the grant of planning permission and the planning decision was imminent, we highlighted the risk that the grid connection cost could change following the payment of the overage. This had the potential to make the project unviable, meaning the project may not be developed.  

Our team guided the client through these complexities, ensuring that they were properly informed of the risks and opportunities. Thanks to our professional expertise we were able to offer an accurate valuation as to how much the previous owners were entitled and a report that our client could lean on in the negotiations that will follow.  

If you are also trying to navigate the intricacies of overage agreements, please contact: 

Harry Robertson (Associate Partner) >


From vision to reality: the net zero business park revolution

A net zero business park aims to minimize its carbon emissions by implementing energy efficiency and fabric improvements, installing onsite renewable generation, and offsetting any remaining emissions. The concept of a net zero business park is not only realistic but is also being actively pursued and implemented across the country.  These parks look to implement complementary sustainability initiatives which can support emissions reduction while also providing amenities for occupiers.  

Some key components that contribute to a net zero business park are listed below: 
  • Energy Efficiency - Implementing energy-efficient practices and technologies is crucial. This includes using LED lighting, efficient HVAC systems, and well-insulated buildings to reduce energy consumption. 

  • Renewable Energy - Generating energy from renewable sources such as solar panels, wind turbines, or heat networks helps offset the park’s energy needs. The goal is to produce as much clean energy onsite as possible. 

  • Battery storage - While the costs of commercial battery storage are decreasing, it is still most often the case that batteries provide little benefit, unless there are other issues such as grid constraints. 

  • Green Spaces - Maintaining green spaces with trees, lawns, and plants can help contribute to biodiversity and enhances the overall environment. 

  • Circular Economy - Encouraging a circular economy involves reusing materials, reducing waste, and promoting sustainable practices among tenants.

These components above would ultimately need to be part of a wider net zero strategy. This strategy would require a multi-faceted approach and could look like this:

Carter Jonas’ expertise includes assisting organisations with the development of comprehensive net zero strategies for business parks and various built assets. Get in touch if you would like to discuss how these technologies can be applied to your sites.