The War Over Wind Farms

Wyoming has a range war going on.  It’s something out of a Zane Gray novel.  The problem is wind farms and transmission lines.  Wind and solar farms require exponentially more land than conventional power plants, and require an extensive buildout of thousands of miles of transmission lines to transport energy from wherever it is being produced at any given moment to where it is being consumed.

A ranch owner described the experience of receiving a letter telling him that a company told him they were going to build a pipeline on his ranch and he had no say about it; it was “like a gun to your head.”

Kermit Brown, a former state representative, said he’s a private property rights advocate.

“The only thing worse than having a wind farm on your place is having a wind farm on your neighbor’s place,” Brown said.

When a landowner leases land for an independent wind farm, the neighbors, who don’t receive regular lease payments, are under threat of eminent domain for transmission lines in support of the wind farm.

The landowner with the wind farm has all kinds of power to negotiate conditions of the lease with the developer, Brown said, but not those who have the transmission lines crossing their property.

“It’s just manifestly unfair for one landowner to have all the choice and all the controls,” Brown said.

Brown also questioned using fair market value for condemned land, suggesting payments should be three times the appraised value of the land being taken.

This blog is based on an article which appeared in “Cowboy State Daily,” which I might subscribe to because I like the sound of my newspaper.  Stick em’ up!

Posted in Eminent Domain, Transmission Lines, Wind Farms
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