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The true cost of wind energy  

Credit:  By Bill Wilcoxen, Broker Associate, Coldwell Banker Advanced Real Estate Center April 2010 ~~

Which way the wind is blowing depends on which side of the wind energy cash dollar you are standing.

While some farmers and ranchers have agreed to let wind developers build on their land and receive as much as $10,000 per tower per year, other farmers and ranchers are seeing big transmission lines that are necessary to carry the high voltage from the wind farms to the metropolitan areas as an onerous threat to their use of their own land, without sufficient remuneration.

Land values and the resulting loss of value are fueling some hot debate among farmers and ranchers in Northwest Oklahoma.

The development of the wind farms has been a major boon to the economy of Northwest Oklahoma and the taxes paid by the wind farms are a substantial amount to the school districts in which they reside. While not agreeing whether they are good or bad, most people realize that they are here and that more will be built. This means more and more high voltage transmission lines will be built and affect more and more land owners.

Land men are currently working on securing right away for an extra high voltage (EHV) line that would extend from a new OG&E substation south of Woodward, north to the Kansas line. When they first
started contacting land owners affected by this EHV line, they were offering a price per acre and a small fee for each tower for a 200 foot easement. In recent days they have raised the per acre price to some landowners significantly.

A 200 foot easement for a mile of EHV line would be 24 acres. What the land owners are saying is, if you were to put towers on these 24 acres you could have around five towers and be paid per tower per year, and yet you want us to give you an easement and give up the annual revenue. What more and more landowners are demanding is a yearly payment similar to the wind towers.

In the past two to three years there have been many companies trying to get wind right leases signed by the land owners.

Most of the leases are very complicated and in some cases, land owners have even signed away water rights or the ability to move fences.

What some farmers and ranchers are finding out is that they do not retain the right to negotiate transmission lines leases because they signed that right away.

As REALTORS® we must be very aware of these changing times.

If you are involved in selling property anywhere near a wind farm or a transmission line or a proposed transmission line, you need to be aware of these possible issues.

We have buyers that have purchased land within the past year, built homes and made improvements only to find the huge transmission line coming near their home or crossing recently purchased recreation property. Needless to say, this does not make a happy customer.

One thing is for sure, the wind is still blowing in Western Oklahoma.

Source:  By Bill Wilcoxen, Broker Associate, Coldwell Banker Advanced Real Estate Center April 2010

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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