Document

Wind Energy Production: Legal issues and related liability concerns for landowners in Iowa and across the nation

Roger McEowen of the Center for Agriculture Law and Taxation in Iowa prepared this important report for farmers who are considering signing a wind lease for wind energy development.

Conclusion

From a landowner's perspective, many wind energy leases and/or easements are inadequate, unfair and offer limited economic benefits when compared to the revenues generated (and tax subsidies received) by large-scale wind energy developers. The most common shortcomings of such agreements include: (1) contractual terms extending too long into the future; (2) contractual language that binds landowners to unilateral amendments; (3) inadequate compensation clauses (and compensation 18 clauses that are difficult to understand); (4) provisions that are the result of unequal bargaining power. While some landowners are reporting better experiences in recent months - better contract terms and compensation levels - that may be the result of greater competition among wind energy developers, greater education on the part of landowners and lawyers, and increased oversight by state regulators (the vast majority of wind energy developers are not subject to the regulatory rules that most utilities are subject to).

Clearly, wind farming has the potential to provide significant economic benefits for rural landowners. However, substantial peril exists that landowners who don’t carefully evaluate proposed agreements with developers can be taken advantage of significantly. Landowners should have any proposed agreement evaluated by legal counsel and attempt to negotiate any unfavorable terms. Failure to do so could result in many years of dissatisfaction for landowners.

Caltlegalbrief-windenergyproduction-legalissuesnov2009_thumb
Calt Legal Brief Wind Energy Production Legal Issues Nov2009

Download file (325 KB) pdf

NOV 2 2009
http://www.windaction.org/posts/19579-wind-energy-production-legal-issues-and-related-liability-concerns-for-landowners-in-iowa-and-across-the-nation
back to top