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Does My Land Qualify for a Wind Farm Lease?

photograph of wind turbines on land with a mountain in the background

You may be looking to make additional income from your land on a renewable energy lease, but how do you know if your parcel has met land requirements for a wind farm? Landowners often wonder if their land qualifies for a wind lease. We go over some must-haves if you want to lease your land for wind turbines, as well as factors that make the land more attractive to energy investors, and therefore worth larger wind lease payments to the landowner. LandGate takes all of the factors we will discuss and more to determine your Wind LandEstimate™ in our free Property Report, or what your land could be worth if you lease it for wind turbines.

Wind Farm Land Requirements

Acreage Required for a Wind Farm

While there is no definitive answer to “how many acres do I need for a wind farm?” wind leases generally require a lot more acreage than, say, a solar lease. Wind turbines take up a lot of space, and wind farms require turbines to be far apart to account for turbulence, meaning developers are often looking to lease thousands of acres. How many wind turbines can be put on an acre of land?

One wind turbine can require up to 80 acres of land, and each turbine will generate around 2.5 MW. Because wind turbines are spaced so far apart, surface activities like farming can still occur on much of the land. Depending on the specific lease agreement, you can still use much of your land during a wind lease.

Buildable Acreage and Exclusion Zones

Not all of your acreage will be suitable for adding a wind farm. Exclusion zones can be thought of as land that wind turbines and supporting equipment cannot be placed on or near for one reason or another. Many exclusion zones prohibit the installation of wind turbines:

  • Topography

  • Dwellings

  • Flood Zones

  • Waterways

  • Wilderness

  • National Park

  • State Park

  • Hazardous Sites

  • NFS Land Units

  • Grassland

After removing these exclusion zones from your acreage, you are left with the “buildable acreage” suitable for a commercial wind farm. You can see for free on LandGate the location of these exclusion zones on your parcel(s) and the calculation of the buildable acreage in your free Property Report!

Power Grid Access

There are areas of the US that see constant, strong winds but are not located near any electrical infrastructure, and therefore are not viable locations for wind turbines. Distance from a transmission line has to be taken into account so the electricity harnessed from wind power can be distributed. Building a connection to the power grid in a remote area is very expensive, and therefore not an attractive option for most energy investors.

Similarly, wind companies also consider land's proximity to substations when they evaluate parcels of interest. Properties located within 4 miles of a substation or closer have a better chance of getting a wind lease offer than properties located further from a substation. The closer, the better! Wind energy developers will also be willing to pay more for land that is bordered by a road so that construction and maintenance crews can easily get their machinery in and out. It is important to remember that even if your land is not currently located in relevant electrical infrastructure, this does not mean that you can't receive wind lease offers. Electrical infrastructure and new technologies are constantly being developed to support new wind farm projects.

map showing where wind farms currently exist

Quality of Land

When an energy developer needs to clear obstacles from the land, it costs more time and money. To compensate for this, they won’t be willing to pay as much to lease your land for a wind farm. Land for a wind lease will be worth more if it is clear of any obstructions to wind flow such as large structures. In addition, wind turbines are heavy, so the soil beneath them must be able to support their weight and cannot be too weak or soft.

Wind Power Incentivization

Policies that support wind power and other renewables vary from state to state, and even by county. In an area where renewable energy is more highly incentivized, your land will be worth more for a wind farm lease. These wind energy incentives are paid to the wind developer, not the landowner. 

Although there may be less open land on the East Coast as compared to the Midwest, land on the East Coast is very valuable for wind farm development because it is highly incentivized, and many East Coast states have set lofty renewable energy goals. You can learn more about the various renewable energy incentives here!

How do I lease land for wind turbines?

LandGate has already done the work for landowners to determine their property’s wind land lease value, and we have that data ready to share with you for free. Skip the guesswork and get your free Property Report to see its Wind LandEstimate™. If you like what you see, you can list your land for lease for free on our leading marketplace for exposure to thousands of wind energy companies. LandGate does not charge any fees or commissions to list. Create your listing today!


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