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Land 2015, 4(4), 1182-1199; doi:10.3390/land4041182

Spatial Distribution of Estimated Wind-Power Royalties in West Texas

Department of Geography, Texas A&M University, 810 O&M Building, College Station, TX 77843, USA
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Academic Editors: Claudia A. Radel and Jacqueline M. Vadjunec
Received: 15 July 2015 / Revised: 10 November 2015 / Accepted: 12 November 2015 / Published: 2 December 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Changing Land Use, Changing Livelihoods)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [10552 KB, uploaded 2 December 2015]   |  

Abstract

Wind-power development in the U.S. occurs primarily on private land, producing royalties for landowners through private contracts with wind-farm operators. Texas, the U.S. leader in wind-power production with well-documented support for wind power, has virtually all of its ~12 GW of wind capacity sited on private lands. Determining the spatial distribution of royalty payments from wind energy is a crucial first step to understanding how renewable power may alter land-based livelihoods of some landowners, and, as a result, possibly encourage land-use changes. We located ~1700 wind turbines (~2.7 GW) on 241 landholdings in Nolan and Taylor counties, Texas, a major wind-development region. We estimated total royalties to be ~$11.5 million per year, with mean annual royalty received per landowner per year of $47,879 but with significant differences among quintiles and between two sub-regions. Unequal distribution of royalties results from land-tenure patterns established before wind-power development because of a “property advantage,” defined as the pre-existing land-tenure patterns that benefit the fraction of rural landowners who receive wind turbines. A “royalty paradox” describes the observation that royalties flow to a small fraction of landowners even though support for wind power exceeds 70 percent. View Full-Text
Keywords: wind power; royalty; property; land use; income; Texas wind power; royalty; property; land use; income; Texas
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Brannstrom, C.; Tilton, M.; Klein, A.; Jepson, W. Spatial Distribution of Estimated Wind-Power Royalties in West Texas. Land 2015, 4, 1182-1199.

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