Wind energy leases are a great way for landowners to make money from their property. As renewable energy becomes increasingly incentivized, energy developers are willing to invest more in renewable interests and will continue planning new projects across the United States.
So why doesn’t every landowner jump on such an opportunity? There are a multitude of myths blowing around about wind turbines that could hinder plans to lease your land for wind energy. Here, we’ll address some of the most common misconceptions:
Myth #1: Wind Turbines Are a Danger to Wildlife
While rumors are swirling that wind turbines have a large negative impact on avian populations, this impact is actually no larger than any other tall, man-made structure. In fact, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) states that “Wind energy development’s overall impact on birds is extremely low (<1 of 30,000) compared to other human-related causes, such as buildings, communications towers, traffic, and house cats.” Similarly, research shows that wind projects actually rank near the bottom of the list of developments that negatively impact wildlife and the environment.
Furthermore, during a recent study, scientists in Norway observed a 70 percent drop in bird deaths after painting wind turbines a highly visible black. These findings may help reduce the impact of wind turbines on migratory animals in the United States, allowing wind energy and wildlife to coexist peacefully. Advancements in technologies, properly placed turbines, and ongoing research are all working to reduce the impact of wind farms on wildlife.
Myth #2: Wind Energy Has a Negative Effect on Agriculture
Wind turbines don’t have to interfere with your land’s agricultural potential, and a wind lease should not impact your existing farming operations. Landowners are typically still able to continue growing crops and grazing livestock on any land not covered by wind turbines. Although each wind lease contract is different, landowners can typically still enjoy much of their land during a wind lease.
Additionally, farming around wind turbines is surprisingly easy since they have to be placed a certain distance apart to operate, leaving plenty of land between turbines to farm and carry out other surface activities. One wind turbine can require up to 80 acres of land, but only a fraction of those acres will be used for the actual turbines and supporting infrastructure. Are you interested in leasing your land for wind turbines? Learn if your land qualifies for a wind lease by generating your free Property Report today:
Myth #3: Wind Energy is More Expensive
Energy output from wind turbines depends on wind speeds, and this variability does increase overall operating costs, but the increase is negligible. In many states, wind energy is cost-competitive with fossil fuels, especially coal. Furthermore, wind power must compete with other low-cost energy sources. Thanks to increases in turbine hub height, rotor diameter, and nameplate capacity, wind turbines are now able to produce more energy per turbine at a lower cost than ever before.
Myth #4: Wind Turbine Materials Create Pollution
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, wind turbines do not release emissions that can pollute the air or water (with rare exceptions) or require water for cooling. They can also cut down on the amount of electricity generated from fossil fuels, resulting in lower total air pollution and reduced CO2 emissions.
Myth #5: Wind Turbines Are Bad for Your Health
Commonly known as “wind turbine syndrome”, the assertion that wind turbines can have a detrimental effect on people who live near them has been a topic of debate for many years. While the spinning windmill blades and turbine machinery do produce a weak (but distinctive) noise, the true impact of this level of noise has proven to be minimal at best.
According to a 2018 study published in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, there is no direct link between wind turbine distance and sleep disturbances or increased blood pressure and/or stress levels. Furthermore, many argue the level of noise emitted is similar to that of a running diesel engine or waves crashing on the beach.
Myth #6: Wind Turbines Are Too Noisy
While wind turbines do emit a steady “wooshing” sound, modern variations are actually relatively quiet and often flushed out by background noise. In fact, an operating wind farm at a distance of 750 to 1,000 feet is no noisier than a kitchen refrigerator. Most wind turbines are designed so that the turbines itself is upwind of the tower, which mitigates low-frequency and impulsive sound. Similarly, the sound pressure levels for modern wind turbines at distances greater than 400 meters are typically less than 40 decibels, which is comparable to the lowest level of urban ambient noise.
Depending on the site and proximity to nearby residences along with local permitting regulations, wind energy companies are typically required to address potential sound issues in the permitting process through setback requirements and must prove that the turbines will comply with applicable sound regulations. Although there are no national regulations, many local governments and communities define their own standards.
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