Wind power and eminent domain
(Posted February 12, 2008)
Property owners in Oswego County, NY were notified last week that Babcock & Brown, an Australia wind developer with twenty wind farms in the U.S., could execute eminent domain to secure a 150-foot wide swath across private land needed to erect transmission lines to a proposed wind project on Galloo Island.
This is not the first time international wind concerns have threatened property owners with eminent domain. Early last year, Montana Alberta Tie Ltd. (MATL), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tonbridge Power Inc. of Toronto, Ontario, advertised its right of eminent domain to secure land to build a 203-mile "merchant" transmission line across cropland. Three wind energy developers have reserved MATL's transmission capacity and plan wind parks all along the MATL line beginning in 2008.
Three years ago, the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) granted Scottish Power, a Scottish-owned corporation, the power of eminent domain for the purpose of building transmission lines from their Elk River wind energy facility. The KCC granted the authority with no public hearing. With the exception of notices sent to other utilities, the entire process was quietly accomplished in less than three weeks.