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Monday, January 10, 2011

Landowners and municipalities to reap millions from wind farm operations for 2010

For immediate release
January 10, 2011

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RENEW Wisconsin
Michael Vickerman
608.255.4044
mvickerman@renewwisconsin.org

Landowners and Municipalities to Reap Millions from Wind Farm Operations for 2010

Owners of Wisconsin’s four largest wind energy projects will pay out approximately $2.8 million in rent to landowners hosting turbines and payments in lieu of taxes to local governments for 2010, according to figures compiled by RENEW Wisconsin, a statewide renewable energy advocacy organization.

Wind energy developers negotiate lease agreements with landowners to host turbines on their property. Payments can be as high as $7,000 per turbine per year. Estimated rental payments to all Fond du Lac and Dodge county landowners will total slightly more than $1.2 million in 2010.

Towns and counties do not collect property taxes from wind turbines but instead receive payments based on the generating capacity of each turbine, allocated under a formula adopted by the Legislature in 2003. Payments to those local governments will reach almost $1.6 million for 2010.

“These revenues help support farm families and rural Wisconsin communities.” said Michael Vickerman, executive director of RENEW Wisconsin. “It’s a much better deal for the state than sending dollars to Wyoming and West Virginia for the coal imported to Wisconsin to generate electricity.”

Gary Haltaufderheide, an employee of Madison-based Land Services Company, which negotiates land leases for large projects, like pipelines and wind turbines, says, “Farmers are smart business people and they’re very satisfied with the payments. One farmer saw the lease as a way to cover tuition payments for a child entering college.”

Four wind projects – Forward, Blue Sky Green Field, Cedar Ridge, and Butler Ridge – account for the payments to host landowners and local governments. Together these projects comprise nearly 90 percent of Wisconsin’s wind generation fleet.

When calculated over a 20-year contract period, total revenues should exceed $60 million, taking inflation into account.

Shirley Wind, the state’s newest wind power installation, will contributed another $80,000 a year, divided equally between Brown County, Town of Glenmore, local landowners, and neighbors within one-third of a mile of a turbine. The eight-turbine, 20-megawatt project began producing electricity in 2010.

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