Wind turbine leases: what landowners really need to know

With the IESO looking for new power generation, wind power developers are on the lookout for willing landowners.

“…the farmer is granting full access to the entire acreage at all times and that the turbines and access roads can be sited anywhere”: Garth Manning QC, in The Law Times

January 25, 2024

Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator or IESO will soon be launching another Request For Proposals (RFP), for 2,000 megawatts of new power generation. This RFP will include wind, solar, hydro and biomass.

We’ve already had reports of power developers looking for willing landowners to lease land for wind turbines, including activity currently in Oxford County. (Which has some of the best farmland in Canada.)

Wind Concerns Ontario prepared an information sheet less than two years ago for an earlier RFP, titled Wind Turbine Leases: what you really need to know.

At the time, we consulted with the Garth Manning QC*, who helped us compile a list of statements and questions for people considering these leases.

Typically, the power developer will offer an option that is good for six to eight years, and once the developer achieves a contract the option leads to the lease, which will tie up the land for 20 to 30 years. Or longer.

Here’s a sample question that Mr. Manning asks:

“Does the agreement affect your future plans for the farm? Are you restricted in any way as to what you can do, e.g., manure spreading or pesticide use, tree planting, hunting? Or, what you can complain about?”

Or,

“Who decides where the turbines and access roads go? This can affect farming operations and cost you extra money in fuel costs, etc.”

Or,

“When the contract ends, who takes down the turbines and infrastructure? It can cost more than $500,000 to dismantle a 600-foot wind turbine.”

The conclusion: there is substantial risk for landowners in these agreements. This is the time to think carefully and seek independent legal advice.

Be aware: the wind power developer does not have YOUR best interests at heart. The wind company, profits, and investors are Number One.

Contact us at contact@windconcernsontario.ca

Join us for more information and support.

*Garth Manning passed away in 2019. A resident of Prince Edward County, he was active in several community groups including the County Coalition for Safe Green Energy (CCSAGE).

Read the information sheet here:

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