LANDOWNERS have been advised not to sign up too quickly for wind farm easements without negotiating a better deal.
The Standard has been told some energy companies are approaching landowners with proposed options agreements allowing access and use of rural land for installation and maintenance of transmission lines connecting wind farms to substations.
Warrnambool-based Maddens Lawyers has warned the agreements were biased in favour of the company rather than landowners.
“To put it simply, these options agreements represent what the wind farm developers want and do not take into account what the landowner may need or want,” Maddens principal Erol Chakir said.
“These agreements come with an offer of compensation as well. The agreement and the financial compensation are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what landowners may be entitled to.
“Landowners have the right to question and negotiate the easement and the compensation.”
Mr Chakir said yesterday that landowners risked being baffled by the intricacy and legal language of proposed agreements.
He said it was possible to achieve higher compensation and a more balanced agreement by getting an experienced solicitor to review the paperwork before signing.
Meanwhile, a new group called Victorian Wind Alliance (VicWind) has been launched to promote the benefits of wind energy. It comprises small businesses, landholders, environmental groups, wind industry workers, renewable energy companies and individuals.
Foundation member Steve Garner, of Portland’s Keppel Prince Engineering, which makes wind farm components, said the alliance would play an important role in presenting the reality of living in a community with wind farms.
“Portland residents are well aware of the amount of local jobs, investment opportunities and community benefits generated by wind energy in the past decade,” he said.
“We have more than 100 people employed at Keppel Prince in tower manufacture and VicWind gives them a chance to have their stories heard and put forward their opinions.”
The group has invited people to show support through the group’s new website.