Wind power is supposed to be a massive boon for both energy prices and the environment, but there are also quite a few people who are due to get their own “windfall” from the growth of the wind turbine industry (do you see what I did there?).
Among the people looking to get a big boost from the wind industry are landowners. Wind turbines, after all, need to be built on land, and they’re willing to spend money to get that land. Indeed, over the next eight years, those landowners are looking to earn approximately £1 billion in rent.
The exact numbers are still being kept secret, but property agents have said that a landowner can expect a risk-free £40,000 ($62,284 USD) for every large turbine built on their land.
People and organizations who are looking to cash in on windmills include several members of the British Royal family and the Forestry Commission in Scotland and Wales.
For example, the Queen’s cousin, the Duke of Gloucester, will probably get £120,000 every year following the installation of four windmills on his estate in Northamptonshire. Earl Spencer, the brother of Diana, Princess of Wales is looking to get 13 such windmills built on his land in Althorp.
Meanwhile, David Cameron’s father-in-law is aiming to get seven windmills built on his land in Lincolnshire, for which he’ll receive the princely annual sum of £250,000.
Perhaps the most impressive fortune is coming to the Earl of Moray, where 49 windmills are paying £2 million in rent every year.
The aristocracy isn’t the only ones who are going to cash in on wind energy though. Wales, for instance, has less big landowners, with the Forestry Commission being the biggest landholder. They can expect in the region of £20 million a year from their turbine tenants.
Scotland’s Forestry Commission, on the other hand, may get as much as £30 million. This is despite being based in a country whose land is two-thirds owned by only 1,200 people.
So What’s The Problem?
Well, it seems like there isn’t one. Wind turbines will generate clean electricity while earning a tidy sum for plenty of big landowners. The only real cost seems to be that it’s going to really offend Donald Trump, who claims an offshore wind farm will ruin his planned golf course.
But while large landowners may get a tidy profit out of these plans, the actual communities who live on and around that land have other opinions.
All over the country the Not In My Backyardigans are forming committees and protest groups, claiming that windmills are inefficient, loud, dangerous and worst of all, ruin their view.
A lot of their claims may not hold much water. I for one, for instance, think windmills look quite pretty.
However, it’s possible that a lot of this resentment comes from the fact that local communities aren’t being consulted or given any sense of ownership over the changes that are being to their landscape.
That opposition isn’t going to go away until the energy firms behind windmills find a way to show that they are helping the whole community.