shadow flicker at a particular location becomes particularly problematic. However, the committee is unaware if such real-time systems have been implemented at any specific wind-energy project.

LOCAL ECONOMIC AND FISCAL IMPACTS

Wind-energy projects can have a range of economic and fiscal impacts, both positive and negative. Some of those impacts are experienced at the national or regional level, as discussed in Chapter 2. These involve, for example, tax credits and other monetary incentives to encourage wind-energy production, as well as effects of wind energy on regional energy pricing. In this section, the focus is on the local level: on private economic impacts, positive and negative, as well as on public revenues and costs.

Lease and Easement Arrangements

As discussed in Chapter 5, most of the onshore wind-energy projects in the United States have been sited on private land. Typically, the developer of a wind-energy project acquires rights to the use of land through negotiations with landowners. Rarely is land purchased in fee simple; instead, the developer purchases leases or easements for a specified duration. While a uniform offer may be made to landowners, contract prices may be negotiated individually and privately. The power of eminent domain is not available to non-government wind-energy developers.

Assessment

According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA 2006f), leasing arrangements can vary greatly, but a reasonable estimate for a lease payment to a landowner from a single utility-scale turbine is currently about $3,000 per year. Lease and easement arrangements can be a financial boon to landowners, providing a steady albeit modest income, but only if the financial and other contractual terms are fair.

A number of guides are now available for landowners who are considering either lease arrangements or granting easements for wind-energy projects. Some of these, such as the guides of the Wind Easement Work Group of Windustry, located in Minnesota, have been prepared by collaborations of wind-energy industry, government, and other partners (Nardi and Daniels 2005a). This work group has provided extensive guidance addressing such questions as:

  • How much of my land will be tied up and for how long?

  • What land rights am I giving up? What activities can I continue?



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