Mineral rights? Get ready for wind rights

We don't have enough laws, at least according to University of Missouri Law School Professor Troy Rule, who thinks the legal structure has not kept up with advances in renewable energy.

“Existing laws will be unable to effectively address some issues relating to renewable energy. Like sub-surface oil and gas, wind and solar resources have unique characteristics that require specially tailored legal rules to effectively govern how these resources will be shared among neighbors,” Rule said.

Based on Rule's published comments, he seems to envision a scenario where wind farms are packed close together. He refers to an example where an upwind property owner (owner A) wishes to install a wind turbine on his property, and owner B sitting close enough down wind to be affected by the wake of the owner A's turbines also wishes to install a turbine on her property. Owner B might be forced to chose a location that might not yield as much wind energy, thus causing owner B to lose out on potential earnings.

“Without clear legal rules segregating one property owner’s right to capture wind from the competing rights of neighbors, conflicts among neighbors will inevitably arise resulting in litigation and underdevelopment of those areas that are the best-suited for wind energy,” Rule said.

Rule’s review of wind rights law was published in the San Diego Law Review. The U. of Missouri put out a press release on the subject:

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