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Lawyers smell fortunes in the wind from those who claim to own it

GERMAN courts are starting to deal with a new crime - stealing the wind. As Europe's greenest country builds ever more electricity-producing wind farms, so the rights to nature are now being fought over by lawyers.... A court in Leipzig is hearing a case involving a dispute between the operators of two wind turbine facilities. At issue: who owns the wind?The current operator claims that to build another new turbine nearby will create a slipstream, decreasing the speed of the airflow and, therefore, hitting the productivity - and, of course, the profits - of his windmill. "This wind theft naturally affects profits," said Martin Maslaton, a Leipzig lawyer.

GERMAN courts are starting to deal with a new crime - stealing the wind. As Europe's greenest country builds ever more electricity-producing wind farms, so the rights to nature are now being fought over by lawyers.

A court in Leipzig is hearing a case involving a dispute between the operators of two wind turbine facilities. At issue: who owns the wind?

"It is becoming an issue that will keep lawyers in work for many years to come as the complexity of the law combined with planning regulations provides scope for many battles in the future," said Juergen Linden, a legal expert.

The Leipzig legal battle centres on a wind farm in Deliztsch, in the eastern state of Saxony, and a businessman who wants to set up a bigger wind farm in the area.

The current operator claims that to build another new turbine nearby will create a slipstream, decreasing the speed of the airflow and, therefore, hitting the productivity - and, of course, the profits - of his windmill. "This wind theft naturally affects profits," said Martin Maslaton, a Leipzig lawyer.

He said that his client believes he could lose more than 15 per cent in income over the lifespan of the wind farm, amounting to several hundred thousand euros.

With... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

GERMAN courts are starting to deal with a new crime - stealing the wind. As Europe's greenest country builds ever more electricity-producing wind farms, so the rights to nature are now being fought over by lawyers.

A court in Leipzig is hearing a case involving a dispute between the operators of two wind turbine facilities. At issue: who owns the wind?

"It is becoming an issue that will keep lawyers in work for many years to come as the complexity of the law combined with planning regulations provides scope for many battles in the future," said Juergen Linden, a legal expert.

The Leipzig legal battle centres on a wind farm in Deliztsch, in the eastern state of Saxony, and a businessman who wants to set up a bigger wind farm in the area.

The current operator claims that to build another new turbine nearby will create a slipstream, decreasing the speed of the airflow and, therefore, hitting the productivity - and, of course, the profits - of his windmill. "This wind theft naturally affects profits," said Martin Maslaton, a Leipzig lawyer.

He said that his client believes he could lose more than 15 per cent in income over the lifespan of the wind farm, amounting to several hundred thousand euros.

With single wind turbines now routinely capable of three megawatts of output - enough to power 3,000 homes per turbine - wind power has become too cheap and too practical to ignore.

No country on earth is more determined to realise the potential of wind energy than Germany. With virtually no energy resources other than fossil-fuel coal, and a government commitment to phase out nuclear power stations over the next two decades, the country is likely to extend its lead in wind power - and in legal squabbling.

At lawyers' offices around the country - from Catholic Bavaria in the south to the Protestant, Prussian north, the legal letters and lawsuits are piling up thick and fast.

Currently, wind is classified under the German constitution as a "free good". But when it hits the 90m-high rotors of a wind farm, it morphs into something entirely different. Then the owner of that wind farm has the right to claim that which cannot be seen, tasted or smelled - unless it is blowing from the direction of the local sewage farm.

Recently, the leading news magazine Der Spiegel reported: "Neighbouring villages are bickering with each other because they are building wind farms along common borders. It means that the owners of farms are suing one another for alleged inaccurate land surveying and illegal construction."

A court in M√ľnster recently ruled that a neighbouring turbine can cause damage that isn't even measured in kilowatts.

The plaintiff claimed that a new wind farm upstream had been passing on the wind in "irregular quantities".

The air turbulence, he claimed, caused his own rotors to vibrate - and his turbines to totter dangerously. He won substantial damages.

The battle-lines are not only being drawn over the wind but also the land which must be utilised for the pylons and cables that carry the electricity once it has been produced.

As major international companies such as General Electric are manufacturers of electricity with deep pockets to throw at legal challenges, Mr Linden added: "Germany may be the biggest producer of wind-power electricity, but the hot air in courtrooms could power a few turbines too."


Source: http://news.scotsman.com/in...

MAY 9 2007
https://www.windaction.org/posts/8759-lawyers-smell-fortunes-in-the-wind-from-those-who-claim-to-own-it
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