Uniting voices offers a collaborated force for landowners when it comes to developing renewable energy. Landowner groups allow rural land owners to band together to attract wind energy developments, along with a united negotiating front. Paul Stout, board member of the Coalition of Renewable Energy Landowners Association, says the association started in 2009.
"This movement really kind of started back in Wyoming organizing land owners into associations to help get common agreements, get better deals with developers. There’s a lot of political aspects of wind energy development, too, issues with endangered species, issues with military airspace, other local government issues, so we needed to bring these groups together to speak with a common voice."
Specifically, landowner wind associations, Stout says, offer a level playing field for all landowners involved in wind development and offer a single negotiating point for developers.
"In the past, developers would go to one landowner and negotiate one thing, they would go to another landowner and negotiate something else, and then these folks who would compare notes at the coffee shop would find out that everything isn’t exactly equal. Where developers need to assemble large parcels of land, it's actually easier for them to have one agreement that everybody can agree on."
Wind energy provides big benefits for landowners in added income and helps communities as well, offering an increase in economic activity.
"First off, it brings money to the participating land owner. It helps those landowners to be able to service debt. There’s other farm-related spending that goes with these projects, car dealerships, feed stores, implement dealerships. For local government, it's property tax revenue, it helps improve local government services."
For landowners interested in landowner wind associations, Stout offers this advice.
"Basically the land probably needs to be a contiguous acreage to attract the interest of a developer. Really get to know your neighbors and try to form a group that everybody works together well, that you know each other, that would probably be the best advice that I can give. When they do work well together, they accomplish some very magical things."
Coalition of Renewable Energy Landowners Association | crelanm.com