Farmland leasing for wind farms continue across the Saginaw Valley

Farmland owners continue to be asked to sign leases with wind farm developers, negotiating a win-win, long term lease arrangement is crucial and can take some time and effort to complete.

There is no doubt that wind energy is and will be a major factor in Michigan’s renewable energy plan. Even though several wind farms are now in operation across the Saginaw Valley, we continue to see efforts to establish additional wind farms in this area.

“A great deal of property is currently under contract and we are still seeing wind farm developers actively contacting landowners to sign wind farm lease agreements,” said Dennis Stein, Business Management Educator for Michigan State University Extension. “Our goal is to get landowners’ information that can aide them in making good decisions related to the long term lease or sale of wind farm development rights.”

In some cases the landowner has signed one of these lease or easement agreements without understanding the rights that they are giving up and/or the responsibilities that they are taking on under the terms of these agreements. Take the time to understand what rights you are giving the wind developer in return for the often small, up front bonus payment. In all cases, you need to consider the setback requirements that restrict your ability to build structures. In the case of farm land, consider how wind turbines will reduce or restrict your option to install a pivot irrigation system. Most wind farm development leases do not restrict or limit your option to sign an oil and gas lease, which is yet another long term development agreement which deals with the recovery of sub-surface minerals.

Remember that it is always advised that you engage qualified, legal counsel before signing any agreement. An important issue to consider when reviewing this type of long term agreement is how it can impact even your grandchildren should they someday inherit your land. To learn more about wind farm development and long term agreements, visit the Alternative Energy page for additional information and resources related to wind farm development and landowner lease agreement information. A wind farm lease is a long term development agreement that can and will impact the day- to-day use and potential development of the land that is restricted under the agreement.

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