With everyone’s eyes focused on Brexit and its complexities, along with US President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, it is easy to overlook the fact that the renewables sector is booming.
Office of National Statistics figures from August 2016 showed that between 1998 and 2015 the percentage of energy coming from renewable and waste sources had risen from 1% to 9% of total UK energy consumption.
However, analysis of the government’s infrastructure plans by the Green Alliance, published at the end of 2016, found that renewables spending was set to decline by 95% up to 2020. The same report found that renewables spending had already fallen by £1.1 billion in the last six months of 2016 due to a “shrinking pipelines of projects”.
The government has claimed that the reason for many of these cuts was that subsidies were forcing energy bills to increase. In its January 2017 ‘Building our Industrial Strategy’ green paper, it stated that: “It is important that we move steadily to an operating model in which competitive markets deliver the energy on which our country depends.”
As explained by Maria Connolly, head of Real Estate and leader of the Energy and Renewables team at TLT: “The rapid development of the renewables sector comes against a backdrop of various government subsidy cuts over the last two years.
“Dramatic cost reductions and technological improvements have therefore been central to this growth, greatly reducing dependence on conventional subsidies.
“With the prospect of the industry increasingly independent from government support, we can expect to see subsidy-free projects truly lead the renewables sector in the future.”
Despite this boom however, fossil fuels still account for over 80% of the world’s energy and skepticism still abounds. As a consequence, the claims frequency on renewables transactions is higher.
The industry as a whole has come to accept that title insurance is critical to de-risking projects because an inadequate title makes the site more vulnerable to attack.
The renewables industry is awash with creative and innovative developers, project managers and technical support personnel who will always find a way of thinking laterally through the obstacles in their path.
Insurers too will need to continue innovating to mirror a highly innovative sector, with the next challenge being to find ways of delivering projects that allow for greater ease of risk management.
In the past four years, Titlesolv have dealt with a range of claims from challenges to access to parties claiming turbary rights, as well as challenges to planning permissions.
In addition, our policies are also often used to provide wrappers around titles of portfolios that are in the process of changing hands in the secondary markets.