As with all things that closely intertwine with politics and the economy, wind energy also has its pros and cons. While some may defend it for its efficiency and its potential to sustain clean energy in the long run, others may point out how wind farms obliterate the beauty of American landscapes with their loud noises and endless strings of wire.
One player we generally forget to think about is the landowner whose land is burdened. When wind farms are created, as when pipelines are laid, who’s pockets make the greatest profit? Borrowing from “East of Eden”, the lucky Adam Trask whose luscious land had that magical oil well or windy hill and the shrewd power or oil company that taxes the consumers for the goods produced. No one really thinks about the Sam Hamilton under whose land the power lines that generate the wind farm or the pipeline that transfers oil is laid. This landowner is left stuck in between a rock and a hard place when the only compensation for use of his land is the value of the installation of the required equipment. What about the potential fire hazards as a result of sparks or lightening? And don’t forget the environmental hazards posed by a leaking pipeline, rendering this landowner’s property value virtually diminished.
Instead of debating over which form of energy is more cost effective or eco-friendly, it’s time we consider the effects of our policies on the unforgotten player in the game of energy production.
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