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Farming The Skies: How Much Landowners Get For Wind Turbines 

Farming The Skies: How Much Landowners Get For Wind Turbines 

When I saw a recent photo of a wind farm on the internet, it made me think about how much money landowners could possibly get for wind turbines. So, I did some further reading to find out the average figures that wind turbines could generate for landowners. 

How much do landowners get for wind turbines? The average yearly payment that a landowner will receive for allowing another person to lease space of their land to build wind turbines on is approximately eight thousand dollars. While this amount could change due to a variety of factors, the average rate converts to just over six hundred dollars a month for each turbine. 

The amount of revenue that landowners can generate from wind turbines depends on the size of each machine and whether they own it or simply rent out space to another person. Regardless, there are plenty of ways to earn revenue through the wind turbine industry, no matter what your role in it is. 

Related: The Cost of Harnessing, Transmitting, and Using Wind Energy

Lease agreements between farmers and wind turbine owners 

The wind energy industry is steadily increasing as each year goes by, with a return on investment rate that is attractive to many potential investors. It seems as if more and more wind turbines are being built up from the ground every couple of minutes.

With so many people adopting the idea of clean and renewable energy sources, others are noticing the trends and beginning to get involved in the business in one way or another.

There are a lot of additional ways to get into the wind energy business without having to put up the capital to start your own wind farm. Believe it or not, it doesn’t even require purchasing your own wind turbines. 

Investors in the wind energy business that purchase their own turbines frequently rent out spaces of land from third parties to build their machines on.

This path is chosen for a variety of reasons, but it ultimately gives an opportunity to others who already own farms or large lots of land to get involved in wind energy production and make some additional revenue on top of that. This is convenient for both the turbine and landowner because they each benefit financially while helping each other expand revenues. 

This can be a favorable option over purchasing wind turbines outright, because they can be very pricey and take a little more time to offer a return on investment than most people would like to wait, considering the amount of money that goes into the initial purchase.

Most wind turbines will range in price from $40,000 to about $60,000 and can take up to 20 years to begin paying for themselves. Although the majority of wind turbine owners have reported net benefit within the first year of purchase, this is still not the ideal way for some people to get into the wind energy industry, so they choose to allow others to build turbines on their land instead. 

How much can be made from leasing land for wind turbines 

The average farmer that rents out their land for wind turbine space will earn approximately eight thousand dollars a year. This price can go up or down depending on the size of the turbine as well as the number of turbines that are built on the piece of land in question.

For a larger, utility-grade turbine with an energy capacity of several megawatts, the farmer might earn upwards of ten thousand dollars each year to host the machine.

On the contrary, if someone is leasing the area for a much smaller, residential-size turbine with a 10-kilowatt capacity, for example, the landowner or farmer will probably earn closer to three thousand dollars a year, maybe five thousand depending on the location of the land. 

The payment terms are also dependent on each individual agreement. Since the lease terms are negotiated between each landowner and renter, this will vary from case to case. The average payment amounts are simply a general point of reference, and these amounts could actually turn out to be much different.

These lease agreements commonly support more long-term deals in order to benefit both the landowner and the renter. As a result, this gives the wind turbine owner an adequate time frame to see profits from their purchase, while the landowner can enjoy a longer period of guaranteed income.

Some of these agreements are purchased in larger payments, while others will require more frequent monthly payments. 

The benefits and disadvantages of renting land for wind turbines 

There are some benefits that come with renting land for wind turbine construction. First of all, it is beneficial for beginners of the wind energy industry who would like to start their own wind farm but do not have access to the corresponding land space to begin such a venture.

Even though the costs of purchasing a wind turbine are relatively high upfront for the equipment and installation, renting land will significantly cut the initial startup cost because there is no need to spend more money on the location to place them. 

On the other hand, renting land for wind turbines comes with its fair share of disadvantages. First, there will most likely be limits indicated in the lease agreement that will indicate when turbines can be built and how many. For example, on a 10-year lease, the renter might be granted the opportunity to add new turbines to the land for a period of the first 4 years only, and the rest of the time will consist of only the existing machines.

This can create pressure on the wind turbine owner to feel obligated to quickly purchase more equipment in such a small amount of time due to their eagerness to expand their business and fear of missing out. Also, it does not give the turbine owner the freedom and security to comfortably expand their business in the way they might prefer to. 

For the landowner, however, the benefits outweigh the disadvantages of renting out their spare land to wind turbine owners. They can count on establishing a continuous source of revenue for many years after the lease agreement is signed.

Additionally, they can begin generating an extra income from the space of land they already had possession of but was never being used. For someone who has completely paid off their property and has full ownership of the land, they would essentially be getting cash flow in that is one hundred percent profit.

This process can be most closely compared to renting out something you don’t use, like an old car that’s been sitting in the garage for years, as an example. 

How much land is required to build a wind farm

green meadow with Wind turbines generating electricity.

There is not a lot of space required to start a wind farm business and begin building turbines. In fact, this is one of the reasons why an investment in the wind energy industry is so desirable. Since wind turbines are vertical objects that stand upright on their own towers, multiple machines can fit closely next to each other because they are longer length-wise than their total width.

In general, each wind turbine requires approximately 300 feet of space around it in order to operate effectively and to not interfere with other turbines or objects that obstruct their field of reach.

Even though this could technically be less since this value depends on the diameter of one rotor blade multiplied by 7, the safest route for wind turbine construction is to abide by the general rule of 300 feet minimum. 

These limits have been put into place in order to help each machine achieve its maximum level of efficiency. When too many wind turbines are placed too close together, they can potentially block the wind from the other machines in a way.

To clarify, it is impossible for a single turbine to intake all of the wind, but they can slow down its momentum when they take the kinetic energy from it as the breeze passes through their rotating blades.

When all turbines have an adequate amount of space between them, interference will not be an issue and each machine should be able to convert as much energy as it possibly can at all times. 

In addition, these minimum distance limits exist in order to avoid damage to the machines. This reason is the most obvious, being that the wind turbines should not be so close together that they don’t have room to perform their functions.

Turbines that are within reach of each other could potentially cause a lot of damage when the wind comes into play and their blades interfere or collide. Since the blades of a wind turbine can reach extremely high speeds, some of them up to 180 miles per hour, there would be significant damage to both wind turbines as well as anything in close vicinity of the machines in the event of the blades crashing together in a storm.

Several years ago, there was a video that surfaced in the United Kingdom of a wind turbine that exploded in a storm due to a combination of emergency brake failure and continuous push from the wind.

Although this is not a common occurrence among wind turbines and it is something that has only been reported once, something similar to this event could potentially happen if two wind turbines were stopping each other’s blades for too long due to interference. 

How wind turbines can affect existing farms they are built on 

Most landowners and farmers that offer some of their lands up for rent to wind turbine owners already have an existing farm with animals. Although there is no direct research that has focused on this topic and come up with anything solid to support these claims, there have been stories over the years that cattle and livestock have suffered negative side effects when wind turbines were newly built on the same farm they lived on.

It has been reported that, along with the loud sound effects that occur when the turbines’ blades begin to spin at rapid speeds, the turbines can produce infrasound rays that transfer to the animals on the farm and cause them to display changes in behavior.

These changes include eating, sleeping, and reproductive patterns that they normally followed before the appearance of the wind turbines. Countless farmers all over the world have told stories about their animals suffering injuries or even deaths in large quantities shortly after wind turbines were built in the area.

Overall, the animals were just reported to have behaved very strangely after the wind turbines were installed and began generating electricity from the wind. It has even been reported that some house pets suffered negative effects due to nearby wind turbines that were never experienced before they were added to the equation.

There was even a book that was written by an esteemed doctor to tell these individual stories in more detail and asses them from a scientific standpoint. The book is titled Wind Turbine Syndrome and was written by Nina Pierpont. 

The “wind turbine syndrome” has been a huge epidemic in various locations all around the world for several years, with no specific rhyme or reason for the frequent and scattered claims. There have been signs of adverse effects of wind turbines on nearby farm animals from Taiwan all the way to France, with all different species of animals in between.

With no common denominator in hundreds of separate cases, many people have jumped to the conclusion that the wind turbines must have caused these sudden injuries and deaths. 

For this reason, many farmers and landowners are hesitant to offer up their farmland for rent to wind turbine owners in fear of negative effects o their animals. Several years ago, one farmer even sued a wind energy company because the decrease in his cows’ milk production cost him tons of money and caused him to lose out on a large percentage of his expected profits.

Even landowners that do not have animals on a farm have shown hesitation to allow wind farms on their land or near their homes. Many people have concluded that if wind turbines can cause harm to farm animals and pets, they can definitely do the same thing to humans.

This was especially a concern among pregnant women since most of these animals suffered various reproductive issues from miscarriages to infertility over time. 

Related Questions

How much money can be generated by a single wind turbine each year?

For the owner of the wind turbine, revenue of approximately five thousand dollars per megawatt of energy would be collected throughout the year. However, this number can go up or down depending on the size and capacity of each turbine. Ultimately, the average value of any wind turbine can be calculated with the general reference of five thousand dollars for each megawatt.

Landowners, on the other hand, have the potential to make up to ten thousand dollars every year for each turbine placed on their land that has a capacity of at least 2 megawatts. Again, this number will fluctuate depending on the size and capacity. A residential-grade turbine with a capacity of only ten kilowatts might generate a profit of around three thousand dollars per year. 

Is wind energy more cost effective than other forms of energy?

Yes. Wind energy is currently the cheapest and most cost-effective source of electricity that exists in the world today. This is due to the use of Power Purchase Agreements, or PPAs, which are contracts that are commonly signed between the consumer and generator of the wind energy that is in use. 

These agreements allow the consumer to purchase large amounts of wind energy in bulk at a slightly discounted rate. Regardless of the purchase price of an energy plan, wind energy is generally almost half the price of traditional fossil fuel energy sources at a value of approximately 5 cents or lower for every kilowatt of energy that is used. 

Does an investment in wind energy provide a large return?

An investment in wind energy can be very lucrative if the right decisions are made and the investor is willing to be patient with their money. The average time it takes to see a net benefit from a wind energy investment should take no longer than one year, and can be as short as 6 months after the original turbine purchase.

Certain wind turbines will begin to pay for themselves about two-thirds of the way down their total expected life span, which can take up to 15 years to achieve. 

These machines usually have a smaller capacity, for example, a 5-kilowatt wind turbine. After the initial investment is completely paid back to the owner, the wind turbine will generate consistently positive cash flow for the remaining 5 to 10 years that it is working to convert electricity. 

Learn More

If you’re serious about learning more about wind energy, I recommend the Wind Energy Handbook on Amazon. This book is great for both students and professionals, and it holds invaluable information on the subject of wind power.