The partnership between Lightsource Renewable Energy Limited and Belfast International Airport is a great example of the tangible impact that renewable energy generation can make to high energy users, by reducing their energy bills and improving their overall environmental performance and credentials.
Whilst finances play a significant role in an organisation's decision to switch their energy supply, the organisation's sustainability agenda is also fundamentally important. From the developer's perspective securing a long-term PPA agreement features high on their list of priorities and will do even more so in the post-subsidy world.
Ensuring that the commercial terms of any PPA agreement are accurately reflected in the drafting is key to ensuring that you ultimately reap the benefits of the development. This may be easier where the PPA agreement provides for 100% of the power to be purchased by the off-taker but can become quite complicated where a percentage of the generated power is to be exported to the grid. In addition, special care should be taken as regards the metering arrangements that need to be put in place. It might be a short document but it needs to be carefully reviewed to ensure it is not only a bankable document for the developer but also beneficial for the customer.
"The solar farm project has exceeded all expectations. From switch-on in March to the end of the year, the 'ballpark' savings were over £100,000. The project has won critical acclaim, and a few prestigious awards, namely the Sustainable Ireland award won by Lightsource and the Airport Operators Association ‘Best Environmental Initiative” award. The project is consistently delivering a reliable 'green' and cost-saving energy supply for the airport. No other airport in either the rest of the UK or Ireland has a similar energy source and we're delighted with its operation."