Image of wind farm on land
Cover of LAND Winter 2017 issue
This article appears in the Winter 2017 issue of LAND magazine. Click here to subscribe!

Wind developers rely on landowners to make their terrain available for wind turbine construction. This mutually beneficial agreement gives wind developers the land they need to generate large amounts of electricity, which they then sell to municipal energy utilities. In return for the use of a small portion of their land, landowners receive royalty payments for several decades.

Thinking of housing a wind farm? Follow these 3 steps

If you have been contacted by a wind developer, you’re in luck—chances are your land can make you a dependable annual profit for the foreseeable future. Here are three main steps to take:

1. Review the lease first

The first thing you will want to do is take a look at the lease agreement and assess the terms suggested by the developer.

In most cases, you will have to section off a very small segment of your land for development and to provide vehicle access. Be sure to look for information about your rights to the land after the developer is done using it for a wind farm. The contract must stipulate what happens to the turbines after the lease expires.

Should any part of the contract seem unclear, you should call your developer for clarification. You may also find that having a second opinion or trusted legal counsel could turn out to be valuable.

Remember, wind leases typically last for multiple decades. Plan ahead for any changes or renovations you wish to make to your property during that period.

2. Set up a meeting

Get to know your developer personally. It’s a good idea to meet and discuss the details of the development partnership before the developer sends you a contract.

Scheduling a face-to-face meeting is the best way to set a stable foundation for the years to come. Remember that wind developers are interested in keeping landowners satisfied with their development leases—it’s not a competition.

If the developer produces contract terms that are not ideal, send them back for revision. Wind developers rely on landowners to sign leases—offering the best deal possible is in their interest. When the lease agreement looks like a win/win situation for all parties involved, it is time to sign.

3. Sign the lease, get paid

Upon signing the lease, landowners should expect some time to pass before significant wind payments start rolling in. Wind turbine construction is an involved process, and it could take up to five years or longer to finish the entire project. Prior to construction, developers will need to test the land, obtain permits and approvals, connect the municipal grid to their planned turbine sites, and more.

Once construction is finished, however, landowners are ready to begin receiving a significant passive income for the foreseeable future. Turbines last for decades, offering a steady source of income that is energy-efficient and environmentally friendly.


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  • Show Comments

  • Dianne

    Susy, in regards to your article on Wind Turbines it is best that the land owners do their research first before signing any lease with a wind company.

    Many owners in my area and state of Michigan are regretting that they ever signed leases with wind companies (I am one of them).

    You need to do more research on this there is a lot more information that is out there that people need to be aware of before they sign any leases – if they sign they will regret it in the future!!!


  • James Piwetz

    Income is good but wind farms are an ugly scourge on the land that destroy the esthetic beauty of rural living and bring heavy truck and equipment traffic to rural roads for years to come, causing untold damage to those roadways. The sight of dozens of ugly wind generators and the constant traffic across one’s property by hundreds of strangers for years is not the reason I chose a rural way of life. I thank God that none of the surrounding wind farms are visible from my ranch…yet. No wind royalty payments can make up for the loss of rural tranquility and nature’s unspoiled beauty. I can only hope my neighbors feel the same!

  • Neil De Odhar

    Susy Bento’s article which recommends reviewing the contract before signing is fine, but that advice is applicable for ANY business agreement. The article would’ve been more enlightening if it included brief anecdotes, quotes, from land owners who saw good results, and also from those for whom it didn’t work out very happily. Plus, it would’ve been helpful for land owners reading this article, weighing whether they should allow wind turbines on their land, to see some dollar figures, typical amounts, averages, they can expect to receive.

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