Wind Farms, Turbines & Leasing
With the impetus to have a substantial portion of Michigan s energy produced through the use of non – fossil fuel sources, landowners in several high wind areas, within close proximity to existing power grids, may be contacted by a Wind Power representative seeking to lease their lands for the installation of one or more wind power generators. Should that occur, it would not be unusual for the landowner to not be informed where the company may want to place structures on their property. Claiming proprietary rights and confidentiality, maps showing the intended layout are not disclosed until AFTER the lease is signed, usually with a caveat that everything is subject to change.
When approached with a proposed lease, often with a substantial check, there are several questions that should be asked:
1. How much of my land will be tied up and for how long? What happens to the wind tower when it becomes obsolete or otherwise uneconomical to operate? Who has the responsibility to take it down and is there a bond or other security to see that such is properly addressed?
2. How much and when will I be paid? Will I be paid per tower, per megawatt produced, a percent of the gross revenue or a combination of the foregoing?
3. Will the proposed structures on my land result in changes in my property taxes and will the payments now and in the future be adequate?
4. What are the liability issues and am I fully protected from both injuries to my property as well as claims of others regarding such items as flicker, noise, vibration, fire, visual pollution, electromagnetic and microwave interference, to mention only a few.
5. Am I satisfied that the contract specifications fairly and properly protect my rights include the right to address any subsequent breaches that I believe have occurred?
6. Does the proposed lease fully comply with other local, state and federal regulations, ordinances and statutes.
Unless each of the foregoing questions have been fully investigated and satisfied, the landowner is likely to rue the day when he signed a lease for a wind tower on his land.