What is in this article?:
- Wind Wisdom | 5 Questions to Ask Before Signing a Wind-Energy Lease
- 2. How long will the lease tie up my land?
- 3. What are my obligations under the lease?
- 4. How will I be compensated?
- 5. What happens when the project ends?
- How to evaluate the wind-power developer
- Types of wind-power property agreements
- How a wind turbine could affect your farming operation
5. What happens when the project ends?
“A frequent fear of landowners is that the developer will default or dissolve, and the landowner will be left with huge, inoperable machines” littering the property, Ferrell says.
Such fears are not unfounded, Aakre says. “It’s a real risk.” North Dakota’s relatively weak reclamation law, for example, “permits turbines to stand idle so long that the company could be long gone.”
Your lease should provide for the removal of the wind farm structures and roads when the project is finished and restoration of the soils, Aakre says. The lease should outline your rights if the wind company doesn’t fulfill its obligation. Some agreements require a performance bond from the developer to ensure that money is available to pay for decommissioning.
Land reclamation is one of the most difficult parts of a wind-power lease negotiation, Retherford says. Although the towers have significant metal salvage value, they require specialized cranes to dismantle. And the massive foundations are expensive to remove.
“Each turbine has 40 yards of concrete in the foundation. One company wanted to grind the concrete down to 6 ft., but we negotiated removal down to 8 ft. so you could tile over it.” Benton County, IN, where the project is located, requires wind companies to deposit money in an escrow fund to pay for the reclamation, he adds.