Wind Energy is in full-blown development in Minnesota

11 Feb

Minnesota is setting a positive example by taking a strong affirmative position on using renewable energy resources.  In fact, Minnesota has mandated that 25% of all power provided by energy companies has to come from renewable sources by the year 2025.  Xcel Energy, which supplies roughly half of the state’s energy, is required to produce 30% of its power from renewable energy by 2025.
*  Source: Minnesota Department of Commerce article “Governor signs renewable energy requirement”

With today’s resources and technologies, wind energy tends to be one of the most cost-effective, practical, and manageable ways to implement commercial-scale renewable energy options to supplement our current energy needs.  What this means for Minnesota farmers, landowners, and communities, is that you will likely see growth in the renewable energy sector, particularly with wind energy.  Since Minnesota is one of the states that already has the most potential for and active development of wind energy, wind energy will affect a large number of Minnesota residents and communities.

It is important to recognize that wind energy projects present a great deal of legal issues, pitfalls, and changed rights/responsibilities for the property owner who becomes a party to such a project.  There tend to be a great deal of legal documents involved in such a project.  Even on an individual level, the property owner will likely face the following contracts: Lease Agreements (and/or Option Agreements), Easements, Development Agreements, and much more. As with all contracts, the terms are always negotiable, and will tend to favor whoever drafted the agreements.  Reviewing or negotiating these terms are tasks you should do in collaboration with your attorney.

For farmers and landowners it is especially important to be wary of extremely long-term lease or option agreements, or “perpetual” easements.  There can be great variation in how limited your use of your land is when you are party to a wind energy project.  Some developers and landowners create very positive, mutually-beneficial agreements which allow each to have the rights and responsibilities that best make sense for each.  These are often the product of both parties thoughtfully considering and negotiating the terms, often with the advice of legal counsel representing both parties.

Evaluating and negotiating wind energy project agreements should be a matter you work on with your attorney.  The attorney you work with should be knowledgeable with the real estate and business law matters that will likely be involved in connection with your project.  If you are interested in an wind energy project, or are a community, landowner, farmer, or developer seeking counsel in this area, please feel free to contact Thomsen & Nybeck at 952-835-7000, or by email (bboyd@tn-law.com).

Author:
This blog entry is written by Brad Boyd, Shareholder at Thomsen & Nybeck, P.A. Brad’s practice focuses primarily in Real Estate, Real Estate Brokerage, Business and Corporate law, and Wind Energy Law.  For more information about wind energy, please see a website designed by Brad Boyd, which identifies the benefits of wind power, resources related to wind energy, and much more, at WindEnergyCommunity.org.

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One Response to “Wind Energy is in full-blown development in Minnesota”

  1. Tenisha Mcalpine February 28, 2010 at 8:31 am #

    Good posting, I favorited your site so I can visit again in the near future, All the Best

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