Renewable energy is on the rise in the United States, and as of 2016, nearly 15% of all domestically produced electricity came from renewable sources, such as hydroelectric, solar, and wind.
Of these sources of renewable energy, wind turbines have the potential to become the largest contributor in the quest of reducing carbon emissions from reducing our reliance on the use of fossil fuels.
In the first quarter of 2017 alone, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) reported that a new wind turbine was installed in the U.S every two and a half hours, and as it stands now, the U.S is already one of the world’s leading wind energy producers, second only to the European Union and China.
This rapid expansion of wind farming in the U.S is creating many financial opportunities for property owners to convert their land into a high-value, money making asset since energy developers need all the land they can get for their wind farming projects.
As of today, U.S wind farms are paying a total of $222 million dollars to property owners across the country, and this number is poised to grow exponentially over the coming years.
In this article, we will cover everything there is to know about wind turbine lease rates, how they are valued, and how Landmark Dividend can help property owners receive the full worth of their wind farm lease with a ground lease buyout.
Wind Energy Basics: What is a Wind Turbine Lease?
A wind farm lease is an agreement between a developer and a property owner that grants the developer the necessary rights to develop turbines at an agreed upon location.
In return, the property will receive monthly rental payments from the developer for a set period (typically 35 years).
Why Wind Farms?
Wind energy represents a cost-effective solution for land developers looking to produce and sell energy.
Unlike other renewable energy sources like Solar Farms, Wind turbines can be brought to full operation quickly, in as little as three months. Wind farms also offer one of the lowest environmental impacts on agricultural land.
This means that energy developers who are looking for a quick return on investment (ROI), and green-friendly developers looking to minimize their impact on the planet would both do well with a wind farm project.
Additionally, since energy production from a wind farm doesn’t require any extraneous expenditures on fuel like traditional power plants, developers can continue to profit off a wind farm project for years to come.
How Do I Obtain a Wind Farm Lease?
While it is possible to get in contact with an energy developer directly, often the developer tends to reach out to the property owner instead.
Energy developers are constantly surveying the landscape for potential wind farm sites, and as such, they have a pretty good idea of where the best potential sites are located.
What Makes for a Good Wind Farm Site?
Once the developer gets in contact with a property owner, they will send out a surveyor to take a closer look at the site’s suitability for a wind farm.
Determining this suitability can be a strenuous process, as there are a variety of factors that come into play in predicting how productive a wind farm will be.
Of these factors, those listed below tend to be the most important.
Location is by far the biggest determining factor of whether a piece of land is suitable for the development of a wind farm.
Simply put, the property in question needs to receive a minimum wind speed of 4.5 m/s, it must be free of wind obstructing obstacles, and it must be in a region where there is an energy need or a need to reduce carbon emissions.
Additionally, the site must be relatively close to existing grid infrastructure; otherwise, the developer will have to spend more time and money breaking ground to lay additional power transmission lines, which is an obstacle that is often too costly for the developer to overcome.
Quantity of Land Available
Most wind farm projects require at least 60 acres of land per megawatt produced; however, only a very small percentage (about 3%) of this land will be used for the placement of wind turbines and other supporting infrastructure.
The remaining amount of acreage is typically kept “as is” to ensure that there are no air flow obstructions.
Quality of Land Available
The last big determining factor of whether a site is suitable for the development of a wind farm is the quality of the land itself.
The development of a wind farm, specifically the turbines, adds a tremendous amount of stress on the soil. As such, the land in question will need to be able to support the weight of both the turbines and its supporting structures without becoming unstable over time.
A geologist will likely be contracted during the surveying process to determine the quality of the land, and if the property meets all the above-mentioned qualifiers, then a wind turbine lease may be offered to the landowner.
How Much Will a Wind Farm Lease Pay Me?
On average, rental payments for the placement of a single wind turbine lease can pay landowners up to $8,000 per year. Thus, wind farming can quickly become quite valuable, especially for larger locations that can host several hundred wind turbines.
However, it is important to note that wind farm lease rates can vary greatly from location to location. While your property may meet the key qualifying factors discussed above, it is quite possible that your neighbor also has land that meets these requirements as well, which could reduce the value of the lease offered to you.
It is only when your property meets all the above-mentioned qualifications while simultaneously being in a region where there is an energy demand and where there isn’t a lot of local competition that you will receive a high-value wind energy lease.
Landmark Dividend’s Role
Landmark Dividend is one of the nation’s largest and most successful ground lease acquisition companies, and we’ve helped thousands of property owners increase their wealth by offering the industry’s best wind turbine lease buyouts.
While the rental payments from a wind farm lease can be substantial, some property owners may find it more beneficial to receive the entire value of their lease paid up-front, in a single lump sum payment, rather than having to wait for incremental payments over the course of 35 years.
Landmark Dividend offers the best wind turbine lease buyouts in the market, providing large, lump-sum payments for the value of your wind farm lease, allowing you to cash-out the value of your long-term quickly so you can use those funds for a variety of other purposes, like early retirement, a new business venture, or even to fund the purchase of more land.
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