9 Jul 2018

How we helped an energy innovator succeed with their plans and evolve new strategies.

Our client’s goals

Clearstone Energy is one of a group of pioneering power generation companies looking to change the shape of the energy market. Whilst renewable energy provides an increasing proportion of the UK’s power requirements, it’s still not enough to compensate for the coal-fired and nuclear power stations that are closing down. Clearstone aims to help fill that gap with a series of small-scale, high-efficiency gas power stations located across the country.

Overcoming challenges: location, legal and commercial

These installations are much more compact than traditional power stations. Nevertheless, they are still complex to set up – requiring a suitable site with good access to roads and the national gas and electricity cable networks, a leasing agreement that not only satisfies the landowner but also meets Clearstone’s needs, and most challenging of all, planning permission.

In addition, Clearstone has to secure its grid application with the network operator and reserve its share of capacity to feed into the national network. The process is complicated and, together with the cost of planning applications, requires substantial capital investment upfront. Since all this investment can be lost if the project fails to proceed, getting the detail right is imperative.

Understanding and reducing risks

Clearstone chose to work with Taylor Vinters because of our strong relationship with another renewables group known to Clearstone, and because we understand the whole process, not just the legal offering.

As Clearstone gave each project the green light, we drew up the lease arrangements with landowners, which not only had to be industry fundable, but also deal with many site-specific issues. We also negotiated options for easements and deeds of easements with third party landowners to secure the necessary right to use, work and connect to the national networks and section 106 agreements to enable full planning consent to be obtained. We used our knowledge of the sector and the specialist lenders’ funding requirements, to create a structure to help future-proof the project.

What our client gained

Bringing such schemes to fruition is notoriously difficult. Yet we have now successfully progressed a number of schemes for Clearstone, with planning, leases and grid reservations all agreed at sites around the UK. In addition, several have been successfully exited.

We are now working with Clearstone on a number of other power generation schemes, assessing their potential and drawing up preliminary documents. Whilst this is taking place, we are also supporting Clearstone as it considers diversifying into new technologies, including electricity storage – essentially large ‘batteries’ which can store excess electricity generated outside peak periods, ready for use on demand.  As with all our clients, we look to our network to make introductions to Clearstone, who we believe will complement and supplement their growth strategy.

How you can gain too

The UK’s energy sector is fast-growing and constantly evolving. There are exciting opportunities and substantial risks. We can help you manage the risks and access the rewards, using our combination of sector knowledge, commercial expertise and legal strength. Wherever real estate and new business opportunities coincide, Taylor Vinters can make great things happen.