Lots of interesting
By EDNA McGINNETT
in the Dunkirk, NY Observer
3/14/08 - Having read
several different industrial wind energy landowner contracts, I really have to
hand it to wind developers. In exchange for a few thousand dollars, the wind
company can preempt landowners’ rights to: extract sand and gravel from their
property, develop mineral rights on their property, allow hunting, build
additional outbuildings or plant trees, etc.
If, in the sole discretion of the wind developer, such activities would
interfere with or alter the flow of wind currents over the property, or
interfere in any way with the building or operation of the wind project.
The wind company has the sole discretion as to what electrical generation
equipment will be placed where and when on leased property. In addition, these
leases contain language which allows the wind developer to use other land owned
by the landowner even if such acreage is not included in the lease agreement.
These landowner contracts subordinate the landowners’ rights in favor of the
wind developers. Once landowners sign an option they are under obligation to
sign the lease agreement if the developer decides to exercise the option.
One of the reasons these contracts are so restrictive is explained in comments
made by NYSERDA about wind energy lease agreements: “Before allowing wind
turbines to be purchased and installed, project investors, financing
organizations, and power purchasers will want to be sure the lease provides
clear, unimpeded rights to use of the land over the expected life of the
“Termination clauses need to be ‘reasonable’ so that the risk of
installing the wind turbine equipment and having the lease terminated is low and
manageable. If the risk of termination is deemed too high, it will be difficult
for the project developer to obtain financing for the project.”
These leases typically prevent a landowner from complaining or taking action
against the wind company because of noise, flicker, visual, audio, vibrations,
air turbulence, electromagnetic, electric and radio frequency disturbances and
other side effects caused by the operation of the project.
Yes, I really have to hand it to these wind developers, and if you have signed
one of these leases, you probably already have.