Wind Energy and Land Use – an Advantage for Landowners and Communities
Wind energy is generating clean electricity, new jobs and economic development opportunities in communities across the country. Canada is now a global leader in wind energy – 9th in the world in installed capacity. As the industry has grown, wind energy costs have fallen – 67 per cent since 2009* – making wind energy one of the lowest-cost electricity generating technologies available today.
Easily integrated into the landscape
Wind turbines occupy a small fraction of the land on which they are sited, so they work in harmony with existing and established land uses. In rural settings, farming and ranching continue undisturbed. Minimal land use and no emissions is the unique win/win of wind energy. Wind farms follow the existing land contours. Generally, each tower base is about eight to 10 metres across and spaced from 250 to 800 or more metres apart. Together an entire wind farm including towers, substation, and access roads uses only about five per cent of its allotted land. Many of the activities that occurred on the ground before a wind farm was built can continue undisturbed after construction is completed. For example, crops can be planted right up to the base of the turbines and harvested with the usual farm machinery. Livestock, such as sheep, cows and horses, can continue to graze around the towers.
Ideal business partner for landowners
Wind energy offers a unique opportunity to deliver stable financial rewards with little or no effort on the part of landowners. Since landowners lease their land to energy companies who build and run the wind farm, they can earn money without having to expend a lot of time, energy or capital themselves.
Wind farms provide an alternative income stream for farmers and ranchers, helping them weather the ups and downs of farming. Wind energy helps to preserve the rural way of life in Canada giving farmers, ranchers and their children the option of staying on the farm.
Economic boost for rural communities
Beyond the leaseholders, rural communities enjoy the many economic and social benefits of wind energy that are returned through municipal tax revenues and the creation of high-value jobs that provide employment opportunities for local tradespeople and contractors during the construction phase, as well as full-time permanent jobs once the wind farm is operational. Wind projects also bring an infusion of dollars to local services and businesses.
A safe and healthy source of energy
It is widely recognized that wind energy is one of the safest and most environmentally-friendly sources of electricity available today. Wind energy emits no greenhouse gases or pollutants and does not use fresh water – which results in a healthier, cleaner environment for crops, livestock and farmers alike.
- Visit CanWEA wind facts for more information about how wind energy works, interacts with humans and wildlife or its environmental and economic benefits.
- Visit the communities section on our website for more information on community-related topics such as community engagement, testimonials, decommissioning and repowering.
- Download a PDF of Wind Energy and Land Use – an Advantage for Landowners and Communities
*Lazard’s Levelized Cost of Energy Analysis, Version 11.0