passive income from wind turbines

Over the past year, I’ve become a lot more interested in finding legitimate ways to create sources of income from vacant land that are truly passive.

Now, to the average real estate investor, the words “passive income” and “vacant land” do NOT go together, but if you know where to look and how to find these kinds of properties, there are actually a lot of opportunities out there.

RELATED: 7 Ways to Make $1,000 Per Month from Land

One such opportunity is to invest in land that is leased out to the owner of a wind farm development.

Essentially, the landowner can earn revenue from the lease (which typically lasts for 35 years or longer) and collect a small percentage of the royalties from the energy that is generated and sent into the power grid.

Depending on the size of the wind farm project, it’s not uncommon for these leases and royalties to produce anywhere from $20,000 – $50,000 for the landowner. And the landowner doesn’t have to do anything. They simply own the dirt and collect the money each year.

Sounds pretty simple, right?

Well… there’s A LOT more to the story. In this episode – I talk with Tao Kong (COO of Alcen Renewable) and we uncover a lot of the details behind how wind energy leases work, what kinds of properties make the most sense for this type of development, what markets make the most sense to start looking in (and which ones to avoid), and a lot more.

This was one of the most interesting conversations I’ve had in a long time, and if you have any interest in passive income, land investing or renewable energy, I think you’ll enjoy it too.

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About the author

Seth Williams is a land investor and residential income property owner, with hundreds of closed transactions and nearly a decade of experience in the commercial real estate banking industry. He is also the Founder of - a real estate investing blog that offers real world guidance for part-time real estate investors.

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  1. Linda says:

    Hi Seth:

    thanks for this information. While researching land for a tiny home, I became interested in purchasing land for renewable energy, however, have run into nothing but dead ends. Contacted a few companies but got no response from any of them. From what I can learn, the companies reach out to you if interested in your land, but my question is if you are a landowner how do you get on their radar? Can you provide other resources for persons interested in purchasing land for renewable energy?

    1. That’s a great question Linda. I bet if you contacted Alcen Renewable, they might have some insights worth considering.

      My takeaway from this conversation was basically the same thing you found… making a wind energy farm work (at this point, anyway) is FAR easier said than done. There are a lot of variables that need to line up perfectly, and someone has to invest a ton of money in order to make everything come to fruition (doesn’t mean you need to be the one dumping the money into the project, but someone with the means needs to be convinced it’s a worthwhile investment).

      1. Larry Ewart says:

        Seth, just listened to your podcast concerning wind energy as a source of passive income. I own land in two counties in SW KS. One of my parcels is located in Gray county KS where there is a large amount of turbines. I did receive a lease payment during a project about 12 years ago that lasted for around 3 years but than the developer elected to not continue because my parcel was not selected for a turbine location. There are approximately 100 turbines in the northern part of Gray county which yield a payment of around $15k per year per turbine. I agree with your guest it is not practical to invest in property thinking you will get a turbine. In my case, my land is generating income through the CRP program of USDA. However, by listening to your podcast it struck my interest that I should reach out to the local owner of the project to see if they would be intertested in expansion or adding additional turbines since they have been operating for about 8 years now. Well done and thanks to you for your interview. Very informative.

        1. Thanks so much for sharing your experience Larry! It’s great to hear from someone who has been down this road to some extent, even if it didn’t ultimately result in getting a wind turnbine. Thanks again for the comment!

  2. Maggie Knox says:

    My 92 year old mother signed a lease agreement with Alcen Renewables a few years ago on a parcel of land in the Antelope Valley of California. Roughly three years later her taxes have doubled (Alcen was to pay the taxes but they didn’t and because my Mom was not aware the taxes weren’t paid she is also on the hook for oebamties) She hasn’t received a penny in lease payments that were agreed to. Alcen dies not answer their phone, their office space as listed on their website doesn’t apoear to exist. It is line dealing with a ghost.

    1. Yikes. I’m sorry to hear about that Maggie, and thanks for posting the comment here. Have you considered hiring an attorney to get to the bottom of these issues (what the lease actually said and what was agreed to)? If there was some legitimate failure to deliver on Alcen’s part, I’m sure something can be done about it.

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