It’s usually disheartening to wake up and discover the wind is blowing. But if that wind is proving to be quite the money-spinner, you may feel differently about the huge white objects dotted around the horizon.
The New York Times has reported on one area by the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon, which has hundreds of 90m wind turbines that not only pay out nicely to those who lease their farms, but to each and every resident as compensation for spoiling an otherwise beautiful landscape.
There’s real money to be made by wind farms, with Sherman County’s 1735 residents earning $US3 million altogether in 2010. Most of the money goes to the farmers whose land the wind turbines are erected on, but $US590 is awarded to every land-owner as compensation for their “spoilt” views.
There’s no arguing that it’s not good for the area as well, with taxes and other fees bringing in $US17.5 million in just nine years. Schools and other public resources are also prospering, with the extra money paying for teachers and school equipment they wouldn’t otherwise have been able to afford. Two city halls, a library, sewers and a bridge have all been built in the county from the money generated (pardon the pun) from the turbines. [NYT]