Love them or hate them wind turbines are here to stay and if you don't have them in your area yet they probably aren't far away.
Have you ever wondered how much money is made from having them on a piece of otherwise useless land?
If you're a farmer, or have a large plot of land, you may already have thought of putting wind turbines on your land and wondered how much you could make from doing so. In a time of uncertainty in farming, we have to keep our options open. What once was a viable idea for crops or livestock changes every year. Having a wind farm on your land can be very profitable. For those who are a little unclear of the procedure, you are not responsible for the turbines, you're just leasing the land to the company who will erect and maintain the turbines.
Monthly amount paid for wind turbines in the USA
These are ballpark figures and are per month.
- $4-$8,000 per turbine
- $3,000 to $4,000 per megawatt of capacity
- 2-4% of gross revenues
Wind farms in UK
As most farmers know, the weather, the buyers and equipment failures all seem to conspire against the farmer making a living. Is it any wonder many farmers are seeing wind farms as a good option?
Installing wind turbines on your farm
Without a doubt the most important thing you should do is get a lawyer who will check that everything is in order as you will be signing a contract leasing your land for many years. There are some sad tales on the internet of farmers who only saw the money on offer and signed a contract without consulting a lawyer first.
Once you have a lawyer on board, then you can proceed as any documents will be as you want them. I have read of one farmer who had much of his fertile topsoil removed during the construction of the turbines. Of course we all know that without topsoil, farming activities are going nowhere. Have a designated area where all the topsoil can be deposited for later use once the turbines and roadways are up and erected on your farm. This is something which should be clearly stated in the contract.
Changing Public Views of Turbines
Having lived in the UK, where wind turbines are discussed with venom, unless you're the person getting paid, I had my concerns. The truth is, wind turbines on farms or in the countryside suffer from bad publicity in some countries, the UK being one of them. It is estimated by some estate agents that if your home is near them, there will be a 20-40% drop in the value of your home.Quite frankly I think this is scaremongering. It is no different than being near a train line, a busy road, or factory. I would definitely have no problem living near turbines in the future. I believe people's viewpoint will change as more and more are installed.
In fact, a house I looked at in Denmark, proudly stated that their (mains electricity) was virtually all from wind power. So there are two sides of the coin, it is all about spin, if you ask me. Denmark was one of the first countries to embrace wind power as a source of clean energy. It is estimated that by 2020 Denmark will be producing 50% of its electricity from wind.
I have now become accustom to seeing them and I know that it is a much cleaner way of producing electricity than coal fired power stations and safer than nuclear
Effects of vibration, shadows, and air pressure of wind turbines
There are regulations in place regarding the distance from houses. Part of this is due to the constant but unperceived vibration they make. I have read this could cause problems to the bones. As far as I know this has not been extensively researched. It is still something to consider if planning to have them on your farm or homestead. Sand, which we have, will absorb more of this vibration than other soil types.
Another point to consider is the change in air pressure for those who live near-by. In some people this can cause headaches, depression, and insomnia. I can say that neither I nor my husband have noticed this whatsoever.
One article I've read, relating to wind turbines and bats, said that it was this change in air pressure which caused the lungs of bats to literally explode without showing any external signs of injury. Yet again, this is something which needs further research.
Installing wind turbines
The process begins with the company installing a tower to test the wind strength. This could be up for some time for them to get an accurate reading. After all it is a big investment for them and they want to make sure it is a wise one.
The company will determine if the area is suitable not just for one, but for several as it will be more cost effective for them. Depending on how many your land could take, you could in essence earn your entire income from this activity.
In fact, many entrepreneurs, have bought land solely for this purpose. What looked like wasteland to others, does in fact have a value if it can be leased to companies for the erection of turbines to generate wind power.
The Controversy With Wind Turbines
I partly think this is jealousy that someone, a neighbor or a near-by landowner, has made money. Some say it is sour grapes but I think it goes beyond this. I believe in a small community that if one person begins to feel depressed and starts pointing the finger at the turbines as being the cause, everyone jumps on board. Soon you have a whole village who were healthy blaming all their illnesses on the newly installed wind farm.
As they say, misery loves company
Subsidies for Wind Farms
In fact a few years ago, in the UK it was likened to the wild west days of gold fever. Sales people aggressively canvassing farmers to get them to sign-up for a deal before it was too late.
Now as government subsidies are cut, older wind farms which have come to the end of their active lifespan (20-25 years) are not being renewed. The wind is still there of course, but as the gravy train of money has dried up, so too has the interest in meeting the European or international targets for clean energy
Are wind turbines safe?
One incident I personally know about happened in the UK in the village where we lived. Overnight, the temperatures dropped below freezing and water had frozen on the blades. When the propellers began spinning, this sent a huge icicles through the air. These shards, some which were 2 feet long, were landing on houses and in near-by gardens. People took cover as the 80 meter high turbine hurled frozen daggers through the air for a few hours.