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Wind Farm Cons?

01/29/2008 11:48 PM

Hello. My mom has an opportunity to have a wind farm built on her small ranch. The company interested in building it wants to obtain a 99 year lease of her land in order to make it worth the cost of them erecting the turbines. Somehow my mom is under the impression that BIG BROTHER might try to take her land away if she goes ahead with this so she has gotten extremely cold feet about this, which is a shame because she can make a good income from the royalties which she desperately neeeds. She would also be doing something to help the enviornment. My question is is it possible that her fears are rational? Has anyone reading this forum had experience with wind farming or know of pros and cons, besides the concern about migrating birds which issue we are also concerned with? Has anyone with a wind farm ever lost their land , if so, how or why? I would really appreciate some input. Thank all of you extremely intelligent individuals who make this forum so enjoyable for someone not as intellectual but who loves to learn as much as I can about the world around me? I save every issue in case I need to refer to something later. Thanks again.

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#1

Re: WIND FARM CONS

01/30/2008 4:16 AM

So, has the proposal been assessed by a legal professional? What was the advice?

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#2

Re: WIND FARM CONS

01/30/2008 5:31 AM

Hello funtlrn

The economic lifetime of machinery erected for a windfarm is currently around 40 years.

That means in a 99 year period there is going to be the original construction period, with at least another 21/2 or 3 further construction periods during the 99 years lease.

There will also be regular heavy traffic, involving huge cranes trundling to the tower sites, both for construction and maintenance.

You do not give your mother's location, ranch size (except "small") nor the prospective energy company interested in doing a deal for the proposed windfarm.

In my experience windfarms are very noisy things to have in the vicinity, and can cause problems with some radio and TV reception too.

Birds who fly at night suffer badly in a disagreement with blades, even in daylight there are many casualties.

Hopefully your mother could put up with the noise, dead birds, complaints from neighbours who dislike the towers in the neighbourhood, and other factors.

As for me, photovoltaic cells are the way to go, when the price falls enough to make them an economic option - but your mother may not be in an area which has a high sunshine-hour count, or perhaps she experiences snow in the winter.

Once an agreement of that nature is signed, it's too late to back out of it, without probably losing the ranch.

Kind Regards....

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#3
In reply to #2

Re: WIND FARM CONS

01/30/2008 10:16 AM

This critique of wind farms is artfully written, but I'd have to question whether it is factual, since I know that the comments on birds ("many casualties") is inaccurate. Studies from a number of wind sites have found bird collisions with turbines to range from 3-5 per megawatt (MW) per year. If the turbines are 2-MW machines, that would mean 6-10 per year, for turbines spaced hundreds of yards apart. I'd have to take the other comments with a grain of salt as well.

I agree with the respondent who advised consulting an attorney concerning the lease. I know of no instance in which someone who has signed a wind lease has lost their land.

Regards,
Thomas O. Gray
American Wind Energy Association
www.powerofwind.org
www.awea.org

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#6
In reply to #3

Re: WIND FARM CONS

01/30/2008 11:38 AM

I very much appreciate your input. I accessed all of the sites you listed and felt comforted by the info. I have much to discuss with my mom, as this is utimately her decision. We will definately speak to an attorney, although I think her fear is more irrational and may not be allayed even if she is assured all is safe. For my part, I am in the process of aquiring my own land to have a wind farm. I love wind, always have, always will, and figure energy produced by wind is a much gentler source of energy than any other type of energy produced except solar energy. We live in the southwest U.S. so we have plenty of this to be put to good use also. FYI, I am still doing research and would still appreciate hearing of the CONS of wind energy as I am personally SO FOR wind energy that I could be considered too positive and not objective enough to give a loved one balanced advice. Thank you again, IB

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#41
In reply to #3

Re: WIND FARM CONS

02/02/2008 6:56 AM

Mr. Gray said: "I agree with the respondent who advised consulting an attorney concerning the lease. I know of no instance in which someone who has signed a wind lease has lost their land."

To that I would add, it's not just after the lease commences, that one needs (one's attorney) to be concerned about. Counsel representing during, or assisting with, pre-lease negotiations would advise that a carefully-crafted termination clause is indispensable, before any signings--and, rest assured that the lessee (the utility) will try to "hold open it's options" until all potential impediments are removed. Case in point: after lease signing, it is probable that appropriate permits from municipal zoning/planning authorities and/or county managers/supervisors will be required. It is also possible that the utility is simultaneously (or could readily begin) conducting lease talks with a neighboring property owner. If the utility backs out for any reason (including county or county agency "interference") Lessor (property owner) could end up with a worthless lease in his hands; and out his expense and fees incurred to culminate the agreement (and, if any, expenses to make the land available/accessible). Your attorney would want a termination clause to be worded in such a way that you would recover (all or an equitable portion of) those expenses, including (all of) his fee.

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#4
In reply to #2

Re: WIND FARM CONS

01/30/2008 11:23 AM

Hello. You've definately raised some concerns for me. I will take all into consideration. As I mentioned at first post, risk to wildlife is one of my major concerns. Thank you for replying IB

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#19
In reply to #2

Re: WIND FARM CONS

01/31/2008 5:20 AM

I feel that Sparkstation has something against wind farms.

The bird death prophecies are overdone.

The noise is not, being downwind (check the direction of the prevailing winds in your area) of such a farm (within 0.5 mile) is not funny. If that direction does not involve anyone then OK......upwind is much less noisy.....

Traffic and midnight repairs, well you will have to think that one out......

The price/value of the land will drop and that must be also thought about!! Does that bother anyone?

Photovoltaic cells are really no way to go for most people as they are dreadfully inefficient at this time, getting better every day, but not quite there yet. Amortization is very slow. Hopefully, a few more years and with lower prices and higher efficiencies, the tables will turn!!

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#20
In reply to #19

Re: WIND FARM CONS

01/31/2008 6:15 AM

Hi Andy,

You should see the p-voltaic spreads on test at Sandia labs here with the basic conclusion that we are 10-15 years away from it being a real solution. My company sold off their 'solar' interests after having several patents and really getting into it . . . then realised it was negative results. You spend more energy making and maintaining them then what you get back, and they are not competitive with carbon based power gen. And we have a solar tower here for playing around with super concentrations of sun light. Go to Sandia National labs web site. This solar stuff has been going on here for 25 + years. I put in the emergency diesel gen set while commissioning the solar tower 25 + years ago, and we don't have any real commercially sound ready to go results after all this time (even sterling engine concentrators up on pedestals . . . . look on the web site . . . and those babies are about 105 dBA at 5 meters. I stood under them and needed ear plugs.

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#25
In reply to #2

Re: WIND FARM CONS

01/31/2008 9:41 AM

My sister lives in Tehachapi, CA. They have windmills all over the hills there. I don't hear any sounds coming from the windmills there. She also works for GE in the division that works with the windmills.

Even if the windmill did produce some noise, there are people that live next to active railroad tracks and after awhile it gets to where they don't even notice the trains going by anymore.

Windmills don't interfere with satellite or cable.

I would consider that 99 year lease a source of revenue for the next 99 years that can be passes along.

Maybe googling the windmill information would be more informative. There you might find articles from people with first hand experience in the matter.

Or contact GE and maybe they can get you in touch with people that they already have leases with.

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#32
In reply to #2

Re: WIND FARM CONS

01/31/2008 6:18 PM

hello sparkstation,

the advice about the wind turbine is pretty good but there is no feedback on the type of blades the company wants to install. if the use of vertical blades is dine there is infor from mcmaster university suggesting that while smaller birds are shreddies whent runs the number of them is pretty small.

second item do you have any websites apart from the new mexico group that are really putting the effort into getting solar powere regeneration or generation on the go?

thanks

'da ber

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#5

Re: WIND FARM CONS

01/30/2008 11:27 AM

If you were to agree to the proposal, you would be bound by the terms and conditions of the lease. If you have been given a draft of the lease, I suggest you go through the document and highlight some of the concerns and then post them here so that we can comment on what such an arrangement would mean to your property rights. Those terms that are unacceptable can be taken out of the lease before you sign. The company may object and withdraw the offer if you make too many changes. As others have suggested, at some point, your attorney can review the lease. But, the key is to make the changes before you sign because later on it will be too late. Since the lease term is 99 years, you won't have the opportunity to ride it out.

Also, it might be helpful to share with the forum some basic information; i.e. country, proximity to roadways, height of tower, proximity to the power grid, on and on.

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#7
In reply to #5

Re: WIND FARM CONS

01/30/2008 11:52 AM

Thank you for your information. There is nothing in the lease agreement which even suggests a land takeover. Of course she did not get the idea from anything she read it was from a negative comment she HEARD, and cannot quote any actual negative facts. She is 79 years old and although extremely intelligent, she does watch and listen to a lot of right wing stuff. I am in no position to judge her so that is why I posted my question to this forum. Two heads are better than one!

As for the logistics of the operation, land mass is 440 acres. Projected number of turbines is 15-17 per 440 ac. The turbines are 3.5 megawatt capacity, and there is are power lines and roads nearby. I am not sure of the tower heights but the land is located in quite an isolated area, surrounded by thousands of acres of reservation land, in the southwest U.S.

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#8
In reply to #7

Re: WIND FARM CONS

01/30/2008 12:29 PM

The reason I mention height is that towers over 200 feet are regulated by the FAA.

These turbines are proposed for use in Nantucket Sound off the Massachusetts coast. The project has hit a political snag; both the Junior Senator (John Kerry) and the Senior Senator (Edward Kennedy) oppose these solutions. Neither of these two clowns, err I meant to say respected gentlemen, have ever been considered "right wing" nutballs. Either the project is too "green" or the NIMBY situation has come into play.

So politics can work against the wind farm as it did here.

As far as land takeover, no. The land is still owned as before. However, should this arragement me made, the land would now be "encumbered" by the leasor and to the extent of the terms and conditions of the lease for the DURATION of said lease.

So, after the machines have reached the end of their "life cycle", but before the 99 years has expired, the replacement equipment will be installed. But by that time (2048), the technology will have changed greatly (assume for the sake of argument). Regulations will have changed as well. So the impact of the retrofit 2048 equipment may be significantly greater (or less) than for the first 30 years of the lease.

How does the language speak to these future events?

At the present time, we are dealing with how to dispose of abandoned railroad right-of-ways. Another obvious case; oil and gas leases. Check out Beverly Hillbillies television series for what to do when oil is found on the property. Thank God Jed hadn't signed that lease or Standard Oil would own his land.

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#15
In reply to #8

Re: WIND FARM CONS

01/31/2008 12:35 AM

I love the BEVERLY HILLBILLIES and I recently watched that BH marathon on TV but I don't recall what Jed did or didn't do regarding the oil. I will try to pay closer attention to those excellent role models. I knew I should have paid more attention to how Jethro ciphered. I should be so smart! Thank you for your input.

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#24
In reply to #15

Re: WIND FARM CONS

01/31/2008 8:47 AM

Beverly Hills 90210

How to get to Beverly Hills using the proceeds of the mineral rights.

Jed was hunting some critters for dinner when a shot from the gun hit a soft spot on the land. Then suddenly, oil (Texas Tea) began flowing up from the ground below. "The next thing you know old Jed's a millionaire, kin folks say Jed move away from there. California is the place you want to be, so they loaded up the truck and moved to Beverly, Hills that is, swimming pools, movie stars!"

Had Jed signed a lease, he would have received royalties from Exxon, just enough to get by, but it would be the Exxon executives not Jed in the 90210 mansion.

Think about it before signing.

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#26
In reply to #8

Re: WIND FARM CONS

01/31/2008 10:02 AM

Respected gentlemen???? I think it is so disingenuous of those two. When did they fall off their party's platform? Or maybe it was the bridge? Think of the fishing opportunities that would arise from the structures out in Nantucket Sound. Well, Teddy did his part to put an artificial reef in New England waters. But the authorities pulled it back out again.

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#9

Re: WIND FARM CONS

01/30/2008 1:35 PM

One concern that I would make sure that is taken care of in the lease is property damage. The construction crews will clear more land then is necessary for the wind mills. You did say this is a ranch what ever cattle you have may depend on the area for foraging. All so if in an arid area may take a while for the land to recover before it can be grazed. They will need to maintain the equipment so you will all so be looking at lost grazing area due to the network of service roads. Who will be responsible for reseeding and clean up, they will leave refuse behind if not specifically told to remove it. They will try to bury the refuse if just instructed to clean up

99 years is a long time with in that time the land maybe of greater value in some other use. Be sure the monetary return on the land takes that into factor.

And be specific in the land use on the lease. Company's get bought and sold the lease will transfer to new ownership. With out the specifics on the lease you could have anything placed on you land in the future.

If Big Brother wants the land he will find a way to acquire it with or with out the lease.

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#10

Re: Wind Farm Cons?

01/30/2008 8:04 PM

As a person who lives in coal country, let me beg you to get an attorney to handle this - one who knows property law issues for your state. Many states have laws - some quite old - that can totally screw you in this kind of deal. You may find, for example, that they have the right to build roads and catch basins wherever they need to.

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#11
In reply to #10

Re: Wind Farm Cons?

01/30/2008 8:27 PM

Hello. The information in your entry is very useful. I guess if the laws of this state allow them to make roads than they would probably become public easement. The land is sandwiched in between Native American reservation land and it would not be nice to have a road built that anybody can use as they will. I will definitely consider all of this when it is time to meet with an attorney. Thank you all for your thoughtful and useful comments and concerns.

P.S. In reply to comment #9, we will definitely ask about cleanup of the site etc. As for the cattle, my mom no longer runs cattle as it is not that profitable anymore and most of my brothers and sisters are to busy pursuing the "AMERICAN DREAM" to have time/desire to raise crops or graze cattle. Besides from all that I have read, grazing can continue with the presence of turbines. As to Nantucket and the wildlife, birds particularly, I am sure the water states have much more to lose in the number and species of birds than we do in the high desert. (Not that I think our birds are not important or are expendable even in small numbers- they definitely are NOT). By the way I think you are right about NIMBY. Some people claim that the turbines are ugly, I think they are beautiful and it is so exciting to know that every time the blades are turning it means a clean natural resource is being utilized. I have an affinity for wind.

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#12
In reply to #11

Re: Wind Farm Cons?

01/30/2008 10:59 PM

Before signing any lease, consult with a lawyer and express your concerns. Remember you will most likely inherit the property and all that goes with it. The terms and conditions of the lease are of prime importance to settle any problems or potential ones in advance.

I had an oil well lease on 2 quarter sections of CO flat land which was land locked. No problem with road. It can be done right.

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#33
In reply to #11

Re: Wind Farm Cons?

01/31/2008 10:15 PM

I thought I made a comment yesterday however it hasn't appeared. I suggest you Licence the wind farmer rather than lease the land. A lease will prevent you accessing the land, where a licence will allow cohabitation. A lease will mean you have no control over what happens on the land. weed infestation can be a big problem as can erosion and waste disposal. A Licence will allow you to access and use the land in conjunction with the wind farmer.

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#13

Re: Wind Farm Cons?

01/30/2008 11:33 PM

I hope your mom gets with the deal, free power ;o)

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#14

Re: Wind Farm Cons?

01/31/2008 12:01 AM

There are some new windfarms recently installed here in Tasmania, Australia. I was part of the installation team and still know one of the operational staff at the site. Yes, migrating rare birds have been killed there and they have restrictions placed on them by govt and greenies. Noise is a problem if you are close or downwind. The view could be called polluted or magnificent depending on who you are, being placed on the coast they are visible for 50 miles. The Tasmanian govt owned company that built them has now sold a controlling share to Chinese govt company, I do not know what that might do in the medium term. A wind farm in a neighbouring state(county) was shelved recently due to greenies and residents who demanded to put the power lines underground, too expensive they said (probably waiting for change of govt). We have 3 more farms planned in this state. I am a complete fence sitter on the subject.

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#51
In reply to #14

Re: Wind Farm Cons?

02/05/2008 5:06 PM

The wind farm down at Buangor area of Victoria can be seen for a large distance around, I think more are going up just North of Ballarrat (drove past some tower bases on a hill)

The one at Buangor has a road circling the area with vantage points so tourists (I call them terrorists) can stop and take pictures ;o)

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#16

Re: Wind Farm Cons?

01/31/2008 12:56 AM

a lease would not be good as she then cannot use the land herself and it locks it up. if the company went belly up they could well steal the land. Much of the grass under the turbine will still be grazable. I suggest she Licence them to use her land, then she is entitled to use it as well and there are no issues of squatters rights etc.

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#45
In reply to #16

Re: Wind Farm Cons?

02/04/2008 11:33 PM

This is doubtful. The post presumes the lease will convey the fee lease for the entire land area. More typically. such lease conveys renter's rights only the required (sub) area needed for the utility, plus air rights in some cases. Nor would squatters rights enter in...this is an entirely different matter, in no way applicable to a lease arrangement for term. There is no legal reason she should or would be deprived of the "at large" (the fee simple) portion of her land...which is likely to be separated from the lease portion by some barrier. Another part of the agreed terms might pertain to access right-of-way for installation and maintenance thereafter. Again, her exclusion from such right of way is not of necessity excluded unless she agrees, and unless she receives commensurate rents.

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#17

Re: Wind Farm Cons?

01/31/2008 4:04 AM

What ever you do, DO NOT >>>>> DO NOT >>>>> DO NOT >>>>>> DO NOT sign up for royalties based on revenue produced. These machines have huge reliability problems, especially if you will only have a few. Ex: If you have two, and one is down for 6 months, then 50% royalties gone if you have 100% wind on the other. No wind = more lost coins on the remaining one. Sign up based on total installed megawatts, running or not, and tie it to their invoiced rates to their client, but never below x-dollars per mega watt. Charge an access fee to the land also and structure it in such a way that if they abuse the access, you can deny them access. Have an escape clause where after X numbers of violations you can tell them to come load up their turbines and clean up the place or it is X dollars per day until they do. Have them put up a performance bond for the 99 years and structure it so the interest is added to the bond value. A broke wind producer will not come remove his machines, so the bond needs to cover the decommissioning costs by a 3rd party contractor plus suffering money.

=======

I attended the wind power reliability conference this year at Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) in Albuquerque (where I live) as a representative of my company (one of the big oil guys and also one of the largest wind producers in the world [in the top 3] yup . . . on oil company boys and girls !!!!!). Get on SNL website and call them up. Email me privately and I give you the head honcho's name, who knows me VERY well. I'll ask him to give you the straight scoop as it is was his granny. Otherwise you may get the "government laboratory contractor pushing wind energy" reply.

The maintenance issues are real, with gear boxes being the big issue. Some larger machines throw blades off so there is personal risk (this is real).

Some brands can lower their gear box, but none can raise / lower their own blades and a big crane is a 6 month to one year lead time.

The single biggest problem with wind turbines is nobody has yet to predict the actual load on the blades and gearbox, and they fail. Wind currents, gusts, ground currents, shifting, vortex, eddies . . . even today with all the modeling tools the overall summary of the 2 day seminar was "Nobody can predict the load". Make sure the company installing them has done all the modelling for placement (there are many consulting companies who model the landscape and can more/less predict the best places to prevent damage from wind shifts and maximise up-time . . . . THIS IS CRITICAL). Check the reliability of the turbines. There are some REAL POSs out there (Pieces of s--t). SNL has tons of data you, as a taxpayer, paid for, so it is free.

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#48
In reply to #17

Re: Wind Farm Cons?

02/05/2008 11:39 AM

I am utterly at a loss to see how royalties enter into the picture. Are you proposing that by virtue of conversion to electric, the landowner is entitled to compensation for the air molecules which happen to pass over her property and through her air rights--as if such chance molecules were being mined like a mineral? Like oil or gas? Seems here you might have mixed two entirely different legal concepts? Awaiting clarification, possibly retraction in part?

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#18

Re: Wind Farm Cons?

01/31/2008 4:19 AM

Like every project windfarm has also pros & cons. Let us weigh the parameters and then take the decision. The highest contribution of windfarm is GHG free power generation which is the highest need of present & coming generations. Let me have permission to counter some of the cons:

Noise pullution: Yes it is noisy but now with improved techology the noise level has come down to that of a busy city and I hope your mother's house will not fall under the turbine.

Site interruption & objection by neighbours:This is the only con that cannot be countered still I feel this depends on our own perception "beuty lies in the eyes of beholder'. Many windfarms are tourists attraction. Also to take permission for windfarm from government, the agency will have to show no objection certificate from all the NGOs and inhabitants of that locality. If that happens no body will blame your mother in future. For more details you can refer to RE Laws of your country.

Bird fatality: Though while putting windfarms proper care is taken of wild animal's & birds' movement tracts. Still some fatality happen but that is much less than the no killed in hunting & other accidents.

Movement of heavy machineries & traffic: This happens during installation only and that period extends for 6-12 months max. During operation it is very quiet from that point of view. Since, usually the life of such turbines is 40yrs this installaiton period may happen 2-3 times during your lease of 99yrs.

But yes I don't understand why the agency is insisting for 99 yrs. The contract period can be 40yrs and renewable with reveiw of conditions based of resistance from inhabitants.

I assure you that new turbines are very much friendly, gone are the days of those noisy turbines. Still you can negotiate for adding a noise level at average wind speed range clause in the contract in consultation with your counsel.

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#21

Re: Wind Farm Cons?

01/31/2008 6:59 AM

I would worry about the noise, and for sure, ask your lawyer about "imminent domain". More than once, a utility company has managed to grab land for the "good of the people".

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#22

Re: Wind Farm Cons?

01/31/2008 8:28 AM

Think about it another way. If it were oil, would you want the drilling and rig on your land, with all the traffic, noise, etc. Will they want a road and right of way to the wind farm? I'd get everything re the proposed farm written out by the firm and run it by a competent attorney. Will their presence on the land restrict future generations from selling the land? Will the wind farm on the land reduce the land value? Can they increase the size of the wind farm any time they wish? Get statistics re bird kill, lightning strikes, radio/TV reception problems, transformer stations and electric wire towers and concerns. Do your homework before you agree to anything, regardless of the potential income.

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#23

Re: Wind Farm Cons?

01/31/2008 8:44 AM

Hello,

The 99-year lease of land is a common practice here in Spain. I know several people who are in the same position as your mom.

Most serious enterprises will offer you an amount of money, not depending on production but on the power installed, so you should be paid in $/Mw installed.

A simple figure here would be between 500 and 6.000 € per wind turbine and year depending on power and wind.

If you are in a very windy place, 8m/s mean wind speed at hub height or more, you could be asking for more money per year, depending of what is being paid to others nearby and the scarcity of the good sites.

If the wind is very low, below 6 m/s, you should be asking less money.

7000€ would be at a very windy place for a machine of around 2MW.

500€ would be at a low wind place for a machine of around 500 kW.

Try to know what is being paid in your home, because this numbers are due to the very high price of wind energy in Spain.

Make sure you ask a lawyer of the "tiny letter" in the contract.

Normally the contract should say you could still grow crops on your farm, since they only lease the right to extract energy from the wind.

This means that you cannot grow trees, that may affect the wind speed but otherwise you can still do more or less the same that your family has been doing.

The land is owned at every moment by your mom. You must still pay taxes for it and so forth.

You will not be allowed to block the roads that they will arrange, nor to grow anything on them.

Regarding noise, you should ask them for a study of sound of the machine at night, and see if the noise level fits the local laws. (See your town hall for details). If the levels at your moms house are acceptable, there is not much you can do. From my point of view I do not find the noise levels of a wind turbine annoying, but that is as always very subjective.

You should also make sure that they will let the land as it was before when the contract is ended, for otherwise your grandchildren will have some very large trees at home that grow no crops.

The project can be very slow. Burocracy here in spain lasts over 5 years since the first visit until you see the money in your pocket, so you should also ask them for some money if they want to install a measuring mast before the windturbines.

Again a typical figure here in Spain would be 500 to 1000€ per year.

I hope this helped you a bit.

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#27
In reply to #23

Re: Wind Farm Cons?

01/31/2008 11:02 AM

Your comment just brought something to mind; if a power generating plant is installed on leased land, is the property now assessed as commercial property with a higher tax value?

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#28
In reply to #27

Re: Wind Farm Cons?

01/31/2008 11:09 AM

Good question, I will add it to my list of things to ask. Thank you!

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#53
In reply to #27

Re: Wind Farm Cons? tax and imposts considerations

02/06/2008 9:35 AM

The answer is, No. And even if it is or were to be, it has no bearing on the property owner--the lease should provide for such contingencies with a clause that the generator will incur all taxes (existing and any increases) for the leased portion of the land. The utility will readily accept paying any applicable tax or levy without question—such taxes being deductible. On the other hand, (in U.S.) federal and state/local income taxes on lease revenue cannot be avoided.

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#46
In reply to #23

Re: Wind Farm Cons?

02/05/2008 12:36 AM

Speaking from the U.S. perspective--yes, Original Post-er (OP) did not give the mother's location/jurisdiction--a 99-year lease is more apt to be the case between corporate persons as opposed to individual persons. Indeed, many jurisdictions will restrict the placement of utilities upon private lands in preference to Commercial zones in all but exceptional cases. That said, your's and OP's posts bring an additional layer of legal complexity to the prospective lease--and possibly the need for additional legal assistance (specialization), above and beyond the realm of real-estate/lease law. It being a virtual certainty that a 99-year lease will survive its (in this case, the lessor) maker, the question will arise as to the disposition of the mother's estate upon her death. Only one "life in being," the mother's son, was mentioned by the originally-posting son. For sake of discussion, we might suppose that he would be her only, first degree heir if she does not devise, or has not devised her property, tangible and intangible to him. But, let us suppose that he, too, does not survive the lease--or even that he does not survive his mother. In such case the matter of future interest in the property, and in the lease, becomes more complicated. For example, she would be unable devise a future interest to anyone not yet living, and possibly not to anyone not yet born for another 79 years. She would not, for example, be able to will the lease to (say), descendants of my son not yet born. If, on the other hand, she wished to create a future interest in a presently living grandchild (child of the son), she herself might only be able to "enjoy" benefit of the lease for as few as 21 years (of whatever remained of the lease term while she lives. Accordingly, additional expense for attorney advise is something that probably should be taken into account. Perhaps the son--who for reasons of his own seems most involved in the lease issue--would want to consider a contribution to that end--on behalf both of Mother and of Mother's son.

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#47
In reply to #46

Re: Wind Farm Cons?

02/05/2008 3:31 AM

Hello. I wondered if anyone would assume that the original poster was a male. The original poster is one of seven daughters, and sibling to five brothers. We would all be involved in the ranch's upkeep and cost. Before my mother passes we agree that we should set up a family trust that would keep the ranch in the family. Thank you for your interesting and insightful commentary. Kind regards IB

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#50
In reply to #47

Re: Wind Farm Cons?

02/05/2008 1:03 PM

"Hello. I wondered if anyone would assume that the original poster was a male. The original poster is one of seven daughters, and sibling to five brothers. We would all be involved in the ranch's upkeep and cost. Before my mother passes we agree that we >she< should set up a family trust that would keep shelter the ranch in >for maximum benefit to< the family. Thank you for your interesting and insightful commentary. Kind regards IB"

fun-t, I'm afraid now we'll never know. As you can see, the antecedent post was an hypothetical 3rd person utilizing the "understood" generic male attribution--for sole purpose to make the (neutral) point. Your post did, however, prompt a closer scrutiny of your board name (it had been perceived in passing, and erroneously, with an upper-case -i- prior to now). May I compliment your atypical selection of name--perhaps all those brothers--perhaps older brothers--had an influence.

The revelation of your musings brought to mind another forum presently underway; it's founder purposes to seek insights into gender-induced communication barriers; however it seems just as equally (and more) to point up the role of conditioning and indoctrination in what, and how, persons are inclined to prejudge. To your credit, you do not seem afflicted in such a way, judging by your reply.

Thanks in return for your kind acknowledgment.

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#49
In reply to #23

Re: Wind Farm Cons?

02/05/2008 12:15 PM

By comparison, a typical negotiated rental rate under a PCS/wireless monopole/tower (solo or co-locate) lease in U.S.A. (to wit: Calif.) would be $300 - 500 per month. A wind generator would probably range higher due to greater space/lease-footprint requirement... Such a lease would gross unadjusted $356,000 - 590,000 over the lease term...with escalation clause (to adjust for inflation), much more.

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#29

Re: Wind Farm Cons?

01/31/2008 11:40 AM

I may be mistaken, but did you say your mom was 79?

I dont mean to come off as "that guy", but lets be realistic, she's already exceeded the average womans life expectancy in the US. God willing she's got another 20+ years in her, but it is what it is.

With that in mind, is the wind company purposely targeting her with the thought of aquiring the land through the contract upon her death? I know, get out your tin foil hat, its paranoia time, but I can't help but be concerned.

I would also be concerned what having those windmills will do to your property values. Lets say you decide to keep the land...ok, you cant do anything with it for nearly 100 years. No commercial development, no selling parcels, nothing, all you can do with it is sit on it and reccieve the royalty checks. My question then would be, what will real estate prices be like in 10 years? 20? more? I think you'll find that your royalties wont even come close to your property value in any significant amount of time, especially with 400+ acres. I would work the contract to factor this in for your royalty, including the price of property used for access roads, and to have the propery value appraised every 5 years or so at thier expense. I would also make sure that the area being appriased includes all necessary clearance for the windmills, not just the actual "foot print" or use a set area per windmill (1 windmill equals 1 acre for example). For them to pay you a flat royalty (even if its $5000 per windmill, not per power produced) might seem good now, but in 20+ years that amount of money isnt going to be worth jack with inflation.

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#30
In reply to #29

Re: Wind Farm Cons?

01/31/2008 11:48 AM

It has to be inflation linked to be worth having I feel as well as all the other important points.

Good that he came to CR4!!!

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#31
In reply to #29

Re: Wind Farm Cons?

01/31/2008 3:11 PM

These contracts are inherited by survivors so the royalties or whatever would pass on to them. The thing is my moms land is just sitting there now. She would NEVER divide it up and sell it no matter how valuable. Right now my mom is living on a very fixed income with the exception of the money she gets from an outfitter who buys her hunting permits for a pittance I might add and who then sells them to Texans at a much higher price. I repeat she would not under any circumstances break up the land except when she dies and the land is split up to survivors but it is in her will that if a kid decides to sell their portion it can only be sold to a sibling. My mom is very anti development good thing, and the ranch will never be considered commercial property as it is smack dab in between reservation land and in a very remote area. I appreciate all of your thought provoking questions. Thank you.

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#52
In reply to #31

Re: Wind Farm Cons?

02/05/2008 5:14 PM

A long time ago, I worked for SSKresge, the predecessor to KMart. They had an early habit of getting 99 year leases for small drug stores. The problem was that the building owners after 50-60 years would go broke under terms of the lease and the buildings would end up being very run-down with leaking roofs, bad paint, poor exterior repair, etc.

I know this is an apples to oranges comparison, but 99 years is a l o n g time, and you may some type of adjustments as time goes by.

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#57
In reply to #29

Re: Wind Farm Cons? Or the new gold rush?

02/26/2008 8:47 PM

Don't know about you but, unless it's Manhattan, I'd take a guaranteed passive income (sure to be $350-500/mo. or more), reinvested and compounding for 100 years, over property value any day. What's more, keeping development out is not a bad thing in many rural places...and it's becoming an increasingly good thing.

Side's that, you didn't take into account what the land would be worth--how much its value (and the house's value) increases--just because of the lease proposal! And that's not all. Where there is one wind generator, there can be more...and even more rents. What a bonanza!

(They should take the money and speculate on property and development elsewhere.)

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#34

Re: Wind Farm Cons?

01/31/2008 10:30 PM

There are a lot of great comments regarding a topic which I know little about ... thanks to all, I now know more.

One thing I can add is to YES make sure a trusted attorney reviews all the documents, especially regarding the use of the land, and the liability of the company during their lease. Regarding the 'use' issue, make sure the contract spells out the limits of the intended use, including unforeseen discoveries. Resources below the ground are not the property of the land owner, and who knows, possibly since we are now 'farming the air', maybe the resources above the ground are not the owner's property either. One thing for sure, if there are any vague issues in the contract, the single individual can rarely win against the litigation power of a large business.

The other issue regards the use of the land. In the next 99 years, I seriously doubt that wind power will be as attractive as it is today. Sometime, maybe soon, there will be alternatives which will make those machines obsolete or too costly to operate or maintain. Then what happens to the land? If it were mine, I wouldn't want some alternate use being made of it for the remaining years, and if abandoned, I would want it reverted as much as possible to its original condition (ie. remove the equipment).

One final, but related point. For any number of reasons, this operation may go bankrupt, then what happens? The equipment sits, rusts, and becomes a huge liability to safety. It will detract from the property value, and will cost quite a lot to have removed. (case in point, albeit on a different scale ... I now am the 'proud' owner of an old barn which finally fell down. The remains are now a liability to anyone getting hurt, it looks bad, it lowers my property value, and it will cost a lot just to have it cleaned up.)

Alternative energy is a great idea ... its a shame it can get so 'messy' with all the legal and financial considerations.

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#35

Re: Wind Farm Cons? Legal advise mandatory

02/01/2008 5:22 AM

Simply put, your mother is exactly right to have cold feet. Get a lawyer to handle this one for your mother/family. You are both over your heads with this one--and most people would be so it's no shame. You will not get the actual advise you need here, because attorneys don't work for free. Consulting with lawyer will be money well spent. Nothing more needs be said. Let us know how it goes as it goes...when there is something actual to chew on.

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#36
In reply to #35

Re: Wind Farm Cons? Legal advise mandatory

02/01/2008 5:34 AM

Advice with which I concur. Of course we will consult an attorney. Thank you for your posts, one and all.

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#37
In reply to #36

Re: Wind Farm Cons? Legal advise mandatory

02/01/2008 6:33 AM

However, what you might get at places like this are points to bring up with your attorney! Lawyers do in fact appreciate knowledgable questions from clients.

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#42
In reply to #36

Re: Wind Farm Cons? Legal advise mandatory

02/04/2008 11:27 AM

lawyers and consultation cost big bucks, nobody works for nothing, are you ready for such expenses? Find out solutions on all concerns facts yourself, then, if the prospect company really serious about your Mom`s ranch, you shall try to negotiate to get partial or full paid to recover all your expenses regardness what the outcome of such project. Good Luck.

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#43
In reply to #42

Re: Wind Farm Cons? Legal advise mandatory

02/04/2008 11:42 AM

Hello. Your advice is some that we will heed. We are looking at only the most reputable wind farm companies and talking to other wind farm owners in our state, although we cannot discuss dollar figures with them per se because of confidentiality agreements that they signed and that we would have to as well if we go forth with our project. There is no getting around the fact that we will have to get a good contract lawyer, fortunately my brother in law has a good one that we will contact. Thank you for your advice. IB

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#38

Re: Wind Farm Cons?

02/01/2008 3:39 PM

here is a link to a report on bird fatalities by region.

http://www.nationalwind.org/publications/wildlife/wildlife_factsheet.pdf

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#40
In reply to #38

Re: Wind Farm Cons?

02/01/2008 9:52 PM

Hello. Thank you for that useful website link. I have been looking at it and am glad you sent it, as it does address some of my concerns. I appreciate your taking time to comment, Kind regards, IB

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#39

Re: Wind Farm Cons?

02/01/2008 9:36 PM

Just a few points to add.

This is an offer, accept with counter offer that has conditional terms in your favor.

Leave your options open while restricting their companies use of the land.

If you don't understand something ask questions on paper and request answers on paper.

Do some research yourself and check the definitions of words because they can be deceptive.

If they pay you in currency (like federal reserve notes) they depreciate to 1/20th over 40 years average.

Do not sign away any rights as in use of the land for other income that does not interfere with their normal use (define normal don't leave it to interpretation).

If they approached you then your property is of value to them. Contact other wind producers for bids. Look at the demographics of the area. Are there other ranches that could be used? Is her ranch the only offer, if not then work together for better terms for all.

Be creative but don't be unreasonable unless that is what it would take to earn its use. Don't be afraid to negotiate.

remember all term/ideas are not take it or leave it. Judge each on it's own merit and counter offer. If you don't ask you can not get it.

Check out your legal counsel. Find out their areas of specialty. Don't commit until you have done your home work. He will make you or brake you.

One term could be that they have the burden of meeting all applicable statutes and their changes etc. without recourse or cost to you.

A lot to deal with, best wishes

Brad

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#44

Re: Wind Farm Cons?

02/04/2008 3:22 PM

here is another link regarding Travis air base and the effects of windmills and radar.

http://www.windaction.org/opinions/12094

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#54

Re: Wind Farm Cons? See one blow up

02/26/2008 8:39 AM
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#55
In reply to #54

Re: Wind Farm Cons? See one blow up

02/26/2008 10:41 AM

OK! THAT was SCARY.

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#56
In reply to #55

Re: Wind Farm Cons? See one blow up

02/26/2008 1:52 PM

See # 17. Wouldn't want mom's cow to become hamburger and then loose 25% of revenue for a year during repairs if she only had 4 turbines, providing the gearboxes are not screwed up on the other 3.

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