Landowners near Winchelsea have been warned that requests to construct wind farm easements on their properties should be negotiated carefully.
Some wind farm representatives are approaching properties in the western districts with option agreements to create the easements on their land, which will allow installation and maintenance of the underground transmission lines from the turbines to the substations.
Renewable energy developer Future Energy has received approval to build a wind farm comprising 14 turbines near Mount Pollock. Another 63-turbine wind farm is slated to be built east of Colac.
Maddens Lawyer principal Erol Chakir, who has recently worked with several western district farmers who have been shown option agreements, said many of the first round offers were skewed in favour of the wind farm developer rather than the landowner.
“To put it simply, these agreements represent what the wind farm developers want and do not take in to account what the landowner may need or want. It’s certainly balanced in favour of the wind farm developer, rather than the people whose land the easement may be on. These agreements come with an offer of compensation as well. What a lot of landowners don’t realise is both the option agreement and the financial compensation are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what landowners may be entitled to.”
Mr Chakir said it was possible that higher compensation and a more balanced agreement could be achieved simply by letting a experienced solicitor look over the paperwork prior to signing.
“Landowners have the right to question and negotiate the easement and the compensation – and they should do so.
“Questions that should be asked are: how much will I be compensated for allowing the easement? How often or how will it be accessed? For how long will the wind farm have access to the easement? What if farm production is impacted by the easement? How will it affect my farming operations?”
Future Energy had not responded to questions from the Surf Coast Times by deadline.
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