UM of­fers work­shop on leas­ing land to en­ergy com­pa­nies

Record Observer - - News -

CHESTERTOWN — Landown­ers with prop­er­ties in Kent, Ce­cil, and Queen Anne’s coun­ties who have been ap­proached to lease their land to so­lar and wind en­ergy com­pa­nies are in­vited to attend a four-hour work­shop June 7 at Wash­ing­ton Col­lege. Three fac­ulty from the Depart­ment of Agri­cul­tural and Re­source Eco­nomics, Univer­sity of Mary­land will ad­dress the ad­van­tages and dis­ad­van­tages of us­ing their pri­vate prop­er­ties for en­ergy de­vel­op­ment.

New goals set in Mary­land to con­vert 2 per­cent of the state’s power to so­lar by 2020 has spurred a strong in­ter­est on the part of en­ergy com­pa­nies to reach out to lo­cal landown­ers and en­cour­age them to lease their land as com­mer­cial so­lar farms. This move to de­velop more en­ergy ef­fi­ciency through­out the state has raised im­por­tant con­cerns in lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties, specif­i­cally eco­nomic and le­gal, about the ad­van­tages and dis­ad­van­tages of com­ply­ing with this state-man­dated re­quest.

To help landown­ers un­fa­mil­iar with en­ergy leases make the best pos­si­ble de­ci­sion when ap­proached by en­ergy com­pa­nies, Dr. Sébastien Houde, Ex­ten­sion En­ergy Econ­o­mist, Depart­ment of Agri­cul­tural and Re­source Eco­nomics, will dis­cuss the eco­nomic is­sues, and Ash­ley El­lix­son and Paul Go­eringer, Ex­ten­sion Le­gal Spe­cial­ists, Depart­ment of Agri­cul­tural and Re­source Eco­nomics, will dis­cuss the le­gal is­sues.

Paul Go­eringer, who has done his share of out­reach on leas­ing farm­land in the state, be­lieves the new leases for en­ergy farms will be long and com­pli­cated for any­one un­fa­mil­iar with them.

“Landown­ers be­fore pre­par­ing such leases will need to con­sider how they plan to use the land in the fu­ture and if so­lar pan­els will be com­pat­i­ble with any fu­ture plans for the prop­erty,” Go­eringer said.

The ad­van­tage to leas­ing the land to en­ergy com­pa­nies, he went on to say, will be their po­ten­tial for cre­at­ing new rev­enue streams dur­ing pe­ri­ods of low com­mod­ity prices. The dis­ad­van­tage will be the longterm con­tracts landown­ers will be ex­pected to sign and the re­stric­tions such con­tracts will have on the land. For this rea­son, he be­lieves it is very im­por­tant to un­der­stand how this will all mesh with any fu­ture plans the landown­ers may have for the land be­fore agree­ing to ne­go­ti­ate with en­ergy com­pa­nies.

Econ­o­mist Houde will dis­cuss the eco­nomic is­sues that may be con­tained in the lease. He will dif­fer­en­ti­ate be­tween what it means to be paid based on en­ergy pro­duced, and what it means to be paid based on other fac­tors. When con­sid­er­ing such leases, he rec­om­mends that landown­ers should care­fully re­view any tax cred­its and other in­cen­tives, fed­eral and state, that may be of­fered for par­tic­i­pat­ing in this pro­gram.

The work­shop is be­ing spon­sored by the Depart­ment of Agri­cul­tural and Re­source Eco­nomics, Univer­sity of Mary­land Ex­ten­sion, the Agri­cul­ture Law Ed­u­ca­tion Ini­tia­tive, and Wash­ing­ton Col­lege’s Cen­ter for En­vi­ron­ment & So­ci­ety. It will be held Tues­day, June 7, from 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Wash­ing­ton Col­lege, Hyn­son Lounge, Hod­son Hall, 300 Wash­ing­ton Av­enue, Chestertown.

Those in­ter­ested in at­tend­ing the free work­shop should reg­is­ter at http:// g o . u m d . e d u / S o l a r Wo r k shop.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.