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Working With Developers
Our Web pages on Distributed/Community Wind and Residential Wind farms highlights that land owners in some parts of the world develop their own wind farms. If you don't want to explore that option, or if you want to investigate working with a commercial wind farm developer in addition to your own development, here are a few comments that may be of assistance to you.
A survey of wind projects across the nation identified key characteristics of success in dealing with commercial wind energy developers. Landowners should:
1. Be informed about technology, developers and your site's wind resource.

2. Keep control of the recorded wind data on your property. Reliable wind data is a great bargaining chip with developers. Don't give it away.

3. Network with other landowners or turbine farm hosts. If the wind resource is commercially valuable, learn what the fair market value is and how to find highest bidders.
Here are some of the questions that owners of windy land should ask themselves and a prospective developer:
1. How much land will be tied up and for how long?

2. How much will the developer pay and how will the payments be made?

3. Are the proposed payments adequate now and will they be adequate in the future based on what a landowner may be sacrificing?

4. If a lump-sum payment is being offered for long-term rights, is it adequate?

5. Does the proposed method of payment or the easement itself present any adverse tax consequences for the landowner?

6. Does the developer have firm plans to develop the land, or is the developer just trying to tie it up?

7. Is the developer willing to guarantee a minimum payment to build a specific number of wind energy turbines by a certain date ?

8. If payments are to be based on revenues generated by the wind energy turbines, how much information is the developer willing to disclose about determining the owner's share?

9. What easement rights can the developer later sell or transfer without the landowner's consent, and how might such a transfer or sale affect the landowner?

10. Will the original developer still be liable if the new developer or owner of the easement rights defaults?

11. What are the developer's termination rights? Can the developer simply terminate the easement at any time, and, if so, how does that affect future payments?

12. What are the landowner's termination rights and are they easily exercised?

13. If the easement is terminated either voluntarily or involuntarily, what happens to the wind energy structures and related facilities? Is the developer required to remove everything, including underground cables and foundations, and, if so, how soon and at whose cost?

14. What are the relationships with power purchasers or transmission utilities that need to be negotiated and in place?
Recent wind projects in Oregon for landowners have leases with landowners of between about $2500 and $5000 per turbine per year. However, this value will change in the future.
Another compensation option for the landowner is to receive royalty payments based on a percentage of gross revenues from the energy sales of the turbines located on their property. For example, a royalty might amount to 2 percent of revenues over the first seven years of production, escalating to 4 percent over the next 15 years. In cases of royalty payments, make sure there are provisions for a guaranteed minimum payment per year.

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