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How to Start a Wind Farm

Landowners all over the United States have discovered how to start a wind farm; and the new crop is a breeze to cash in on.

| September/October 2011

  • Wind Farms From Aerial View
    An aerial view of an extensive wind farm puts the turbines on display. Barnes
  • Sunflowers and Wind Turbines
    Wind turbines are an increasingly more common sight on farmland everywhere. Video Stock
  • New Wind Turbine Over New Barn
    An interesting juxtaposition puts a modern wind turbine right above a well-weathered barn.
    Jim West
  • Tall Wind Turbines
    These turbines stand 265 feet high near McAdoo, Texas. The turbine blades extend another 115 feet. Sucsy
  • Gritty Prepares to Harvest the Wind
    Gritty makes it look all too easy.
    Brad Anderson

  • Wind Farms From Aerial View
  • Sunflowers and Wind Turbines
  • New Wind Turbine Over New Barn
  • Tall Wind Turbines
  • Gritty Prepares to Harvest the Wind

As long as the wind blows, people will look for ways to put it to good use, and one new old use for the wind that’s more important than ever is power generation. It turns out that harnessing the wind can provide a significant amount of relatively clean electricity, and wind-powered electricity-generating turbine farms are sprouting all over the country. If you live with lots of wind, there’s a chance that you can figure out how to start a wind farm and become part of the domestic energy generating solution, and make some serious cash in the process.

In 1998, Helen and Robert Emick, who own an expansive cattle ranch in Lamar, Colorado, were approached to lease some of their land for a proposed wind farm. The wind farm, known as the Colorado Green Project, has a total of 108 wind turbines, 98 of which are on Emick land owned by Helen and Bob and their seven sons.

Before the project started, the development company gave the Emicks the names of some landowners on the Minnesota-Iowa border where a wind farm had recently been completed. Helen Emick says they visited with a few of them, just to see what they might be getting themselves into.

“The people we visited with were happy to get the wind farm,” she says.

Several years went by as the area was put through various tests to make sure it was a suitable location for a wind farm. Even before the wind farm was constructed, the project changed hands a few times. But when the contracts were finally signed and the actual construction started, the Colorado Green Project was up and running in about six months. Currently, the Emicks lease their land to Shell Energy and Iberdrola Renewables, an energy development company based in Spain.

All-in-all, says Emick, the construction of a wind farm on their land has been “very positive,” as has their association with everyone involved in the development and construction process. Though, she notes, “It was a mess for a long time during the building process.” Because of the sheer number of turbines on the Emicks’ land, Helen says that over the course of the whole project, a total of 600 to 800 semis drove in to bring all of the supplies.

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