By Torgny Møller, publisher of the Danish magazine Naturlig Energi
Naturlig Energi, Vol. 33, No. 7, www.naturlig-energi.dk
Translated and published following agreement with Torgny Møller, July 2011.
Who owns the wind?
Are wind turbine owners entitled to compensation if new turbines are likely to interfere with the wind reaching an existing turbine? Or is a neighbor entitled to compensation if new turbines use wind passing over their property before it reaches the turbines? In short: Who owns the wind?
First Norwegian ruling on the question of who owns the wind ...
Nobody owns the wind
The neighbor of a planned Norwegian wind farm demanded compensation because he claimed the wind turbines would use the wind crossing his property. In a final ruling, the Norwegian high court has rejected the claim and thus upheld two earlier rulings made by lower courts.
The case was brought up in April 2009 by a neighbor of a planned wind farm where the nearest blade tip is as close as 3.7 meters (12.139 feet) from his land. He demanded a 200 meter (656’) limit, but lost the case in two lower courts. In the high court, he argued the proposed wind turbines would violate his property rights due to the reduced opportunity to exploit the wind across his property. The wind company argued that the right to install the wind turbines implies that one has the right to exploit the wind on the designated wind farm site. The neighbor also said he had no plans to utilize the wind crossing his property.
The judges agree that the right to use may involve limiting the right of others to do the same, but that the wind is not subject to property rights. This implies the wind farm developer has the right to use the wind across his property, unless it conflicts with the neighbor law. That is not the case here, and consequently, the five judges reject the neighbor's claim.