Wind Turbine Wakes, Wake Effect Impacts, and Wind Leases: Using Solar Access Laws as the Model for Capitalizing on Wind Rights during the Evolution of Wind Policy Standards

By Diamond, Kimberly E.; Crivella, Ellen J. | Duke Environmental Law & Policy Forum, Fall 2011 | Go to article overview

Wind Turbine Wakes, Wake Effect Impacts, and Wind Leases: Using Solar Access Laws as the Model for Capitalizing on Wind Rights during the Evolution of Wind Policy Standards


Diamond, Kimberly E., Crivella, Ellen J., Duke Environmental Law & Policy Forum


INTRODUCTION

Wind rights and access to natural wind flow raise important legal issues, policy questions, opportunities, and financial risks for landowners, their neighbors, and for wind facility developers. This is particularly evident with respect to the phenomenon called wake effect (downwind effect) that occurs between commercial upwind turbines and downwind turbines. Upwind turbines create wind wakes that impact the natural wind flow to adjacent downwind turbines, causing the downwind turbines to experience diminished energy production and, in some cases, increased mechanical loads. The rights and income streams that are tied to this diminution can influence a developer's decision to erect turbines in certain locations or to construct a wind project altogether. At a minimum, for wind projects that are constructed, developers and landowners on whose property commercial wind turbines are placed should consider the impact of wake effect on turbine placement, operation, and performance.

The United States currently lacks a comprehensive national standard, federal guidelines, legislation, Supreme Court precedent, or a regulatory structure that establishes a unified approach to wind rights, including a uniform minimum setback distance (the length of the buffer zone between two utility-scale wind turbines, or between a utility-scale wind turbine and the adjacent landowner's property line). Through the example of wake effect, this article argues that a nonunified approach to wind rights as a matter of policy is not optimal for several reasons. First, as discussed herein, inconsistent laws, rules, and regulations across state lines and between local jurisdictions--such as the absence or presence of setback distances between wind turbines--factor into the magnitude of adverse economic impacts a downwind turbine owner may sustain, particularly in terms of potential financial loss due to turbine spacing and location on a particular parcel. Second, inconsistency between jurisdictions may encourage developers to forum shop for the jurisdiction that has the most favorable laws, rules, and regulations, depending on whether their respective turbines will be located upwind or downwind of another developer's turbines in a particular location.

A more preferable approach would be to adopt a more unified policy that encourages wind turbine construction on a site on which feasibility, environmental, and other suitability studies have been conducted, regardless of whether or not that site is upwind or downwind from an adjacent developer's wind farm site. Currently, the legal policies and regulations governing wind rights in a particular area influence how developers address wind flow over a particular parcel, wake effect, cumulative impact issues, turbine siting, wind lease negotiation, and constraints to wind farm development. Accordingly, states with suboptimal regulations with respect to wind farm development and, specifically, a minimum turbine setback distance, may lose the wind project and the accompanying revenue to other states having shorter minimum setback distance requirements or no setback restrictions at all. For instance, one state may lose to another state the jobs that are created by and accompany wind farm construction which would otherwise have been a source of economic stimulation for the area at and around the wind farm site. The issue of statutes and ordinances establishing setback limits then becomes a political and economic issue rather than a renewable energy or environmental issue. Not surprisingly, significant economic and political consequences flow from decisions governing turbine setback limits, and from developers' decisions as to where and whether a wind farm should be sited in a particular city, county, or state. Developing an appropriate legal and regulatory framework that simultaneously sets desirable policy standards for developers, states, landowners, and the general public, and that maximizes both wind farm productivity and profitability is critical.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Wind Turbine Wakes, Wake Effect Impacts, and Wind Leases: Using Solar Access Laws as the Model for Capitalizing on Wind Rights during the Evolution of Wind Policy Standards
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.