Wind energy companies are leasing land for wind power generation across the United States and Canada. If your land is -- or should be -- under consideration for a wind farm, keep in mind that a wind farm brings much more than just turbines to your land. It will require roads, power lines, transformer boxes and other equipment, all of which can impact your other land uses.
Evaluate the wind potential of your land. If your property is located on a ridge, hills, or in an area that is well known for constant winds, your property may be a good candidate. If it is also near existing electrical transmission lines, it may be an excellent candidate. Search for wind speed maps of your area on the Internet. If, however, it is in the approach to an airport or military base you are out of luck. Often wind power companies will approach a landowner directly. If you are approached by a wind energy developer do not sign anything before you consult a qualified attorney who specializes in property law.
Unless you are the owner of a very large property, meaning several thousand acres, your property will be one of several in the wind development. It is crucial that you meet with your neighbors and determine if the price per acre or per turbine site you are being offered is fair. Do not hesitate to negotiate damages to your crops or pasture land and with your attorney set out the rules that will deal with how you are compensated for surface damage. You may also be compensated for underground utility line right of way and for the land used by transformer stations and facilities. Make sure you are being fairly compensated for these items. Learn as much as you can about the project developer. Find out if they have any other wind energy developments in the country and if they are successful. Wind energy projects can and do fail. Poor choice of location, equipment or management could leave a hulking array of towers on your land, abandoned by a bankrupt company.
Recognize that a wind energy project may last for decades. Once you have taken this step your property will be unsuitable for certain types of future development. Determine if you are willing to accept this and any associated reduction in the per acre value of the surface of your property. Ultimately a wind energy project will add resale value to your property as a whole, since lease payments are transferable to the new owners in most cases.
Always consult an attorney before leasing your land for wind power generation.
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