Renewable Energy

New solar installations are being built on rural farmland in America over recent years.

Wind turbine installations on the other hand have become a common site on farms across the US. Wind installations provide an extra revenue generator for farmers and have benefitted farm owners immensely by giving them a stable extra source of revenue.

Wind energy projects provide many economic benefits to communities: jobs, a new source of revenue for farmers and ranchers in the form of land lease payments, and an increased local tax base.

Wind energy can also reduce electricity rates for project neighbors, and in Texas, has even resulted in free electricity.

Direct Employment

Wind energy projects result in jobs in rural communities in manufacturing, transportation, and project construction. Wind energy sector employment reached a new high of more than 116,800 full-time workers. Employment in this sector fluctuates depending on the level of deployment, status of federal incentives, trade, and the value of the dollar.

Many people will be employed during a wind power plant’s development and construction, including local construction services and companies from outside of the community. This activity will provide a large amount of indirect economic impact (e.g., manufacturing and supply chain) and induced impacts (e.g., increased spending at hotels and restaurants) during the construction phase of a project.

Land Lease Payments

Wind turbines have a small footprint, so crops can be grown to the base of the turbine offering rural landowners a new cash crop.

Land lease agreement payments are typically structured in one of three ways: fixed payments, revenue-based payments, or a combination. Project developers might prefer to negotiate a certain payment structure with landowners based on the economic considerations of a particular wind energy project. Landowner compensation can vary among individual projects and landowners in a single project could have different agreed-upon terms.

Local Tax Revenue

Property tax payments from utility-scale wind projects provide much-needed revenue to rural communities for building new schools, roads, bridges, and other community infrastructure. Average annual payments of more than $7,000 per megawatt of installed capacity are common.