Submitted to: American Society of Agricultural Engineers Meetings Papers
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/20/1995
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: If you own land in the right place, the wind may become your income resource of the future. Wind plants may provide a new cash crop for many farmers and ranchers who have historically struggled with windblown lands. Wind plants consist of large numbers of wind machines placed in areas of high winds. The machines generate electrical power that is sold to the electric utility or other consumers. In most cases, landowners lease land to a wind-plant developer as either a cash lease or as a royalty lease that gives the landowner a percentage of the production. A typical wind plant uses less than 10% of the land for roads, wind turbine pads, and transmission lines. The remainder of the land can continue in normal agricultural production activities. In 1994, US wind plants produced over 3 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity, enough power to satisfy the electrical needs of 1,000,000 Americans. These producing plants are mostly ylocated in California, but new plants are being installed in Minnesota, Iowa, Vermont, Texas, Washington, and Oregon. A 50 Megawatt (MW) wind plant consisting of 100 wind machines will cost $50 million to install and will be spread over 3,300 acres with only 250 acres actually taken out of agricultural production. The income from the wind plant will be $6 million per year (electricity @ $0.05 per kWh). A landowner with a 2% royalty lease will receive $120,000 per year on his 250 acre or $480 per acre per year.