So you are a farmer or a landowner that wants to make a quick buck by signing with a wind company…here’s some food for thought
Turbines cost you money
- The future of farming is in efficiency and precision.
- Turbine access roads and towers decrease efficiency every time a field is worked whether it is planting, harvesting, tillage, spraying or other applications.
- Major seed companies will be less likely to grow seed corn near turbines. They need to be expedient with aerial applications (crop dusting) which turbines hinder.
- Turbines can interfere with GPS and any newer technology that requires a consistent signal.
- If you have to reconfigure your land or re-think irrigation, how will you do so when the wind company holds all the cards and your hands are tied? Don’t even think about subdividing.
They ask too much, period
- Landowners are asked to give up their rights and give the wind company’s project precedence over anything else including the farming operation. Across the US, land managers are starting to discourage the signing of wind easements. Stop and think—WHY?
They maintain all power and control
- Ask yourself, if there ever is a disagreement between you and the wind company, who will win?
Nuisance to surrounding community
- Lawsuits against wind companies have been brought by communities and families that are quietly settled out of court, but, if you sign a wind contract you will sign a “nuisance clause” that will keep you from complaining about vibration, noise, turbulence, shadow flicker, or stray voltage.
- However, making your neighbors put up with it is rude or even dangerous and, in many instances, you may be held liable.
- You as the landowner will be sued by affected residents (don’t expect the wind companies to bail you out)
Your property value could take a hit
- New turbines may not affect agricultural property values immediately but what about in 10-20 years when the turbines are showing their age and not producing as much? Will that turbine still be an asset or become an albatross?
- Homes on acreages decrease in value immediately when an industrial wind installation is built nearby.
- Consider western Iowa where old Enron turbines are being cut off 1 foot above the base and the footings are being left. The turbines that are still standing are now only paying $200/year.
It is NOT what the wind company reps SAY, only what is in the contract is binding.
- Seek the advice of a competent property/real estate lawyer; not every lawyer will understand the specific points of wind contracts. The cards are stacked against you.
Just because they SAY that the project will happen a certain way does not mean it will happen that way.
- A wind rep will tell you “it’s just a powerline crossing your property,” but you may find them building a turbine there instead. The companies do not care about YOU or the community; they will tell you what you want to hear to raise their bottom line. They only care about how much money they put in their own pockets.