Buying Land

Green Energy Creates New Demand for Land

If the vision of  the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory holds true and  produce 20 percent of U.S. energy from wind power by 2030, there will be significant demand for land on which to place with the huge wind turbines that will generate this power, said Brandon Blevins of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy at the recent National Land Conference of the REALTORS® Land Institute.

Leases for wind rights can be significant source of income for property owners, especially in the Midwest and Texas where wind currents are strongest. Blevins cited estimates that the wind economy could generate $782 million in direct payments to landowners, as well as $1.877 billion in local property tax revenues through 2030, on a national basis, cumulative over the 20-year scenario.

Wind farm developers generally pay either a royalty of 2 to 3 percent or a flat annual fee of between $2,500 and $4,000 annually for each megawatt of power generated, he said. Since land with wind farms can also be used for farming (so long as sprayers aren’t used) and recreation, the revenue stream is an add-on to current property returns. “I’ve heard farmers call it ‘the new cash crop,’” Blevins said.

Another source of green power, photovoltaic solar energy, is often best suited to urban centers, but a growing interest in concentrated solar power requires the large tracts of land that can only be found in rural areas, said Gil Melear-Hough, project coordinator for the Knoxville (Tenn.) Solar America Cities Program. These power projects require approximately 640 acres to generate 100 megawatts—more per acre than wind. However, land use for solar panels cannot be farmed at the same time.

A final land opportunity in the green energy sector exists in the need to expand the nation’s transmission grid to connect green power sources to consumers. Land brokers may have business opportunities working with power companies and attorneys to create easements and rights of way for transmission towers. Much of this expansion will occur over the next five to 10 years, fueled in part by federal stimulus funding, experts say.

This content may not be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever, in part or in whole, without written permission of LANDTHINK. Use of this content without permission is a violation of federal copyright law. The articles, posts, comments, opinions and information provided by LANDTHINK are for informational and research purposes only and DOES NOT substitute or coincide with the advice of an attorney, accountant, real estate broker or any other licensed real estate professional. LANDTHINK strongly advises visitors and readers to seek their own professional guidance and advice related to buying, investing in or selling real estate.

About the author

Realtors Land Institute

The REALTORS® Land Institute, “The Voice of Land,” continually strives to maintain its status as the acknowledged leader for all matters pertaining to the land real estate profession. RLI endeavors to remain the essential membership organization for the extraordinary real estate professionals who broker, lease, sell, develop, and manage our most precious resource: the land. RLI provides the expertise, camaraderie, and valuable resources that are the foundation for all land real estate professionals to become the best in the business. For more information, visit rliland.com or call 800.441.5263.

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment

The Pulse

If you were to buy a recreational property for your personal use, would you prefer a fixer-upper that can be customized or a turnkey property that’s ready to use?

ANSWER
THE PULSE SPONSORED BY:

Southeastern Land Group