Landowners Get Paid for Wind Turbines, How About Transmission Lines?

Although some major new transmission lines are being built in the US that will enable solar and wind to grow, many projects are held back because people oppose having them cross over their lands, in addition to a maze of state regulations.

While landowners are paid annually for wind turbines on their land – which makes them much more amenable – they only receive a modest, one-time fee for transmission lines. Some are asking, why? 

"You know what they’re getting paid for those turbines, and it’s pretty good. You’re going to get a transmission line that serves those wind turbines and you don’t feel like you’re getting paid as well," Frank James of Dakota Rural Action, told Midwest Energy News. It’s an increasingly common complaint from South Dakota farmers, he says.

Transmission Line

One company is paying, however. Clean Line Energy Partners offers yearly payments to landowners who host the project it is building – a 500-mile transmission line that will carry 3.5 gigawatts of wind energy from northwest Iowa to the Chicago area. It has plans for three other major transmission lines.

Clean Line gives landowners an upfront payment for the value of the land and for the number and type of poles and towers there. For a single pole, landowners can choose to receive  $6,000 upfront or annual payments of $500 for as long as the line is in service; for the largest, lattice structures payments are $18,000 upfront or $1,500 a year, reports Midwest Energy News.

Right now, utilities can’t do that because of various regulations, but Clean Line’s customers are wind farm developers, willing to pay to get their power to market (think toll road for electrons). Clean Line benefits from fewer project delays and less litigation.

Utilities may want to lobby to lift some of those restrictions.

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Comments on “Landowners Get Paid for Wind Turbines, How About Transmission Lines?”

  1. Kitty

    Long distance transmission lines are not sustainable, no matter if they carry “renewable” power. New transmission lines take farmland out of production permanently and require someone to make a sacrifice to provide for another. That is not sustainable.

  2. Stoobie

    Not much farmland taken out. You ever witness how close those farmers plant to the poles? I didn’t think so. Farmers are not sacrificing, they are making logical and reasonable decisions (and good financial ones) concerning their belongings. I think they have the right to do that.


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