You’ve been approached by a wind energy company about leasing your farmland for use with their turbines. Frankly, it seems like a great way to get another stream of income going.
But wind farm agreements are extremely long-lasting contracts. Before you sign away any important rights as a landowner, you want to ask a lot of questions. Here are some things that you may want to know:
- How much of your farmland will be taken up by the operations? One of the chief advantages of a wind farm is that the land around the turbines can still be used for growing crops. However, there are also buffer zones and access roads for the energy company to consider. You need to know how much this could impede your farm.
- How long does the lease extend? How much will you be paid during this time and in what installments? Are the payments fixed on some measure of the production, or do you get royalties? Will the payments keep pace with inflation? You need to be absolutely certain that this is truly a financial bonus for you and not something that will eventually feel like a raw deal.
- What are your obligations under the lease? Are there things you are not allowed to do? For example, can you spray your crops around the turbines? Are you allowed to make improvements to your land roads or drainage systems without permission?
- How long can the turbines stand idle before they are removed? What happens if the project ends? You don’t want to be left trying to figure out how to remove old turbines that are now defunct from your land.
It’s generally wiser to have an experienced attorney on your side during negotiations involving wind turbines and wind farm leases. An attorney can help you best protect your interests as you move forward.