Wind Leases Are Big Business on the High Plains

Apr 1, 2016

Credit Denver Post

Wind farms continue to pump out millions of dollars’ worth of renewable energy in Colorado. But, as the Denver Post reports, turbines are also big business for landowners these days. Colorado landowners received $9 million in lease payments from wind companies last year. And all this wind energy couldn’t have come at a better time for rural High Plains residents. Oil and gas profits have dwindled, and slumping commodity prices have cut into farm and ranch incomes.

Turning the wind into dollars has resulted in a welcome reprieve for many rural areas. That’s because turbines tend to be located on lower-yielding agricultural plots. And while they require periodic maintenance, once running, turbines are much less disruptive than petroleum wells or solar arrays. For the most part, they’re self-sustaining.

Nationwide, wind farms paid out almost a quarter of a billion dollars in lease payments last year. And Colorado is in the top ten when it comes to wind leases, though the state doesn’t match the income of wind powerhouses like Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and California.