Suckers Sign Here: Wind Turbine Hosts Taken For Fools By Developers in One-Sided Land Contracts

The great wind power fraud depends on a few gullible land owners signing up to host turbines, just to pocket a few pieces of silver -selling their souls to charming wind power outfits like Thailand’s RATCH (see our posts here and here and here).

No turbine hosts; no wind industry.

Lured by annual licence fees of around $10-15,000 per turbine, farmers who do sign up are obviously happy to destroy the ability to live in and enjoy their own homes – if they live on the property concerned; and are quite prepared to draw the eternal damnation of their neighbours for their responsibility for introducing a constant source of annoyance and misery to once happy and peaceful communities.

When the question is asked fair and square, the great majority of those in places where wind farms are threatened are bitterly opposed to having these things speared into their rural communities: and when we say “great” majority we mean 90% or more (see our posts here and here).

No wonder then, that turbine hosts often end up as social pariahs.

Not only are turbine hosts prepared to earn the opprobrium of whole communities, they’re happy to side with outfits like Infigen – an outfit founded by crooks and run by a bunch of bullies and thugs – that’s quite prepared to threaten and intimidate its potential turbine hosts when they have (quite reasonable) second thoughts about remaining in their contracts.

At Flyers Creek, 3 potential turbine hosts pointed to their lapsed contracts and told Infigen that they were no longer willing to host turbines. Instead of accepting the freely formed (and legally correct) decisions of the landholders concerned, Infigen adopted a course of legal threats, bullying and harassment (see our post here).

And so harmonious are the relationships between Infigen and its turbine hosts that David and Alida Mortimer (farmers and turbine hosts for Infigen at Lake Bonney, SA) have spent the last few years taking every opportunity to tell the story of their self-inflicted acoustic misery – and to warn rural communities around the globe about the very real impacts on sleep and health caused by incessant turbine generated low-frequency noise and infrasound (see our posts here and here and here).

So much for all that warm and fuzzy support for wind farms – if those that pocket a handy sum for hosting them have nothing but tales of woe to tell.

In the posts linked above we covered the grab-bag of lies and subterfuge used by the developer’s goons employed to stitch up land holder contracts with the willing and gullible.

One of the well-worn favourites is to convince a potential target farming family that they are the only farmers who had not signed a contract to host turbines for the project concerned.

The development being scoped out might involve a dozen separate farming properties, say; all of which needed to be stitched up in contracts to make the project stack-up in terms of REC subsidies and/or infrastructure layout and associated engineering costs.

The developer’s goons would lob up at each and every one of them – on a one-on-one basis – telling them the very same story: “that all of their neighbours had already signed up”. These words were usually uttered at a point in time when the developer had not signed any contracts in relation to its proposed development at all. Pressure was often added by telling the targets that they needed to sign up quickly, because if they didn’t they would be holding up hundreds of $millions in investment, hundreds of jobs etc, etc.

Working on the adage of “loose lips sink ships”, on each occasion, the farmers being targeted were told that they mustn’t breathe a word about the contract being offered to any living soul: so much easier to perpetuate a lie when it can’t be tested by your target with a quick phone call to their neighbours.

In order to add a little more pressure to their targets – and to get their monikers on the contract being offered – the developer’s goons would tell the target farming family that, because everyone else had signed up, they would end up with turbines right up to the boundaries of their properties (sometimes within a few hundred metres of their homes); so they “may as well sign up anyway”, because that way they would at least get paid for hosting some turbines on their own property.

The thrust of the developer’s pitch being that: your life is going to be ruined by dozens of turbines on your neighbour’s property, so you may as well receive a few grand a year for your pending troubles.

The same set of lies would be told repeatedly; until such time as ink appeared on all of the contracts needed to get the wind farm project off the ground, and on its way to a dodgy-development approval.

So far, so insidious. And that particular ruse is one that’s been used around the world, as is made plain from the story posted here, one of which reports a turbine host from Wisconsin saying that:

[W]e were also told that we were the ones holding up the project. That all of our neighbors had signed, and we were the last hold-outs. It persuaded us.

What we didn’t know then was the developer was not being truthful. We were not the ‘last hold-out’ at all. In later discussions with our neighbors we found out that in fact we were the very first farmers to sign up. I have since found out this kind of falsehood is a common tactic of wind developers.

By signing that contract, I signed away the control of the family farm, and it’s the biggest regret I have ever experienced and will ever experience.

Gary Steinich, Cambria, Wisconsin. June 2011.

But, it’s not just being duped that has turbine hosts rueing the day they let a developer anywhere near their patch. It’s the fact that wind power outfits couldn’t care less about their farming operations; and being the subjects of social ostracism from former friends, relatives and neighbours that has really hit home.

As one pair of South Australian farmers put it, signing up to host wind turbines was the worst decision of their lives: SA Farmers Paid $1 Million to Host 19 Turbines Tell Senate they “Would Never Do it Again” due to “Unbearable” Sleep-Destroying Noise

Then there’s the agreement itself; wind turbine host contracts are easily the most one-sided documents ever produced, as David Ganje, a South Dakota Attorney details below.

Windless in Woonsocket – How not to sign a wind turbine agreement
Capital Journal
David Ganje
28 December 2018

I marvel how many South Dakota landowners sign a wind turbine agreement or an oil and gas lease without the benefit of good counsel. I have seen the end product. It is not pretty.

Though we are taught about the seven deadly sins of this world also called the seven cardinal sins or capital sins, yet a wind turbine agreement may contain an even greater smorgasbord of “contract sins” all of which should be discovered, remedied and purged by any negotiating landowner before entering into a long term land use agreement. I will in this opinion piece visit a few contract issues.

Let us first however examine a difference one occasionally finds between a North Dakota landowner and a South Dakota landowner. I am reminded of an old Aberdeen lawyer friend who has now passed away. He once said, “In North Dakota they spend money to make money and they spend money to save money, but in South Dakota they just don’t spend money.” Consider that many wind turbine agreements are private contracts in which the parties have an unequal bargaining position. To be involved with one is not the time to practice parsimony.

A particular contract term used by wind farm developers is the confidentiality agreement. This stratagem requires landowners sign a confidentiality agreement often before even seeing a form lease. The clause attempts to give a developer an advantage over landowners by prohibiting the sharing of information among landowners. Such a “gag” provision is also found in a final executed wind lease in order to protect the contract terms from disclosure.

A confidentiality clause makes it a bit more challenging to determine what the regional “market” payment terms really are for a given project. And in turn the clause hinders a landowner’s ability to knowingly negotiate terms which are fair for a particular project in that particular market.

The absence of market knowledge gives a competitive advantage to project developers.

When I consult ag land appraisers to discuss regional wind turbine payment terms I usually find these experts bereft of much information on the subject. While there are methods for learning what a fair payment term should be, the methods are a bit more expensive than what might be found in an open and transparent market.

I will list some important terms found in a wind turbine agreement. This is a sobering list, and should motivate the landowner to seek the exact parameters for each term. Common agreements contain: a construction and land use option all in favor of the developer; an access easement to cross and use one’s property; the right to construct roads; the right to construct large turbines on one’s land; the right to construct underground and above-ground transmission lines and substations; and terms that bind on one’s heirs or any subsequent purchasers of the land.

As in a courtship, pretty pictures painted, verbal promises and solid verbal commitments between the landowner and developer mean nothing once an agreement is signed.

Some wind turbine agreements are called easements, some leases, some something else. It matters not. These babies are a binding, long-term land contract. Or, as young people say, a wind turbine agreement is a land contract with benefits.

Be not dissuaded by the good money offered. While an agreement often presents itself as if it were a lease – an agreement is considerably more than a lease.

A wind turbine agreement is a binding commitment of the landowner allowing the developer the right to broad use of the landowner’s property.

The “right-to-use” language often has ambiguous or liberal terms subject to interpretation. I suggest one leave as little to interpretation as possible.

A wind turbine agreement is a business marriage with all its serious consequences. Let me provide an example of language found in an agreement: ‘The final decision concerning the placement of any wind turbine equipment remains in the sole discretion of the developer.’ This term sets no limits as to duration, quantity or type of equipment. The term is unrestricted.

A written wind energy agreement is the very Constitution of the land use relationship. It has many other consequences not here discussed including a legal liability issue and several tax questions. If in fact a landowner is interested in entering into a wind turbine agreement in the first place, a tax and legal analysis is essential.

Ben Franklin said that an investment in knowledge pays the best interest. A landowner should invest money to make money and to protect property.

David Ganje of Ganje Law Offices practices in the area of natural resources, environmental and commercial law. Mr. Ganje wishes to thank his law clerk Jordan Vogel for his assistance.
Capital Journal

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.

Comments

  1. Reblogged this on ajmarciniak and commented:
    The great wind power fraud depends on a few gullible land owners signing up to host turbines, just to pocket a few pieces of silver -selling their souls to charming wind power outfits like Thailand’s RATCH (see our posts here and here and here).

    No turbine hosts; no wind industry.

    Lured by annual licence fees of around $10-15,000 per turbine, farmers who do sign up are obviously happy to destroy the ability to live in and enjoy their own homes – if they live on the property concerned; and are quite prepared to draw the eternal damnation of their neighbours for their responsibility for introducing a constant source of annoyance and misery to once happy and peaceful communities.

  2. Jackie Rovensky says:

    Just an update. David and Alida Moritmer after some years of living with turbines and traveling all over the place to inform people of the dangers, they have now left (sold) the farm as well as the lovely home they built with their own hands to find peace well away from these things that drove them to distraction. Now they can travel for pleasure and enjoy a peaceful life when they are at their new home.
    Thanks to them and all others who are working to inform people of the disaster these things will bring to their lives, also thanks to those who are working their socks off trying to get Politicians and researchers to listen and take action to resolve the dangers.
    From housewives, farmers, doctors and all others including those who thought they would be living a quiet retirement we thank you for your efforts.

  3. Son of a goat says:

    Alright own up, which one of you mongrels has been poking a stick at Yoda Yates? (Apologies for previous spelling error).

    Having just joined Twitter the former head of the green bank and liberal party veteran has seemingly turned into the grinch over the holiday season.
    He’s urging followers to vote in a “Get Up” poll where they can nominate which three members of the hard right should be ousted at the next election.
    Heaven forbid Joshi Frydenberg even gets a slap in the face! Apparently the citizens of Kooyong are fed up with his performance, well you will get no argument on that score from us there Yoda.

    Listen son, you are going too hard, too early!
    It might be time to hit the J- brake and loosen up a little, maybe a night out on the tiles with your comrade Pretty boy, just to blow a little smoke off if you know what I mean.

    Why big fella, we still have an election to get through and we can’t have you blowing a head gasket.

Leave a Reply to 1957chev Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: