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Conservation Easement Basics
Renewable Energy Issues
Conservation Easement Basics

Renewable Energy Issues

Conservation easements are increasingly addressing renewable energy issues associated with placing wind and solar installations on the property. In the past, many easements prohibited energy installations but that is changing. Many landowners want to take advantage of renewable energy potentials on their property and it is best to discuss these with a land trust before you finalize an easement. Many of these technologies are evolving rapidly and increasing in scale. Strategies to deal with these issues vary widely in conservation easement drafts. Some land trusts permit renewable energy facilities on a property as long as the output from those installations is designed to meet the energy needs on the property, not for wider, commercial application. Some easements identify locations that are out of public view as potential sites; others identify alternative locations on the property as potential locations for renewable energy structures. One of the most common terms is that the applicability of a particular technology, its scale and location are subject to land trust approval. Such a provision permits the evolution of new technologies but gives the land trust the opportunity to influence their placement and evaluate potential impacts on conservation values. Most land trusts realize that conservation and reasonable accommodation of renewable energy facilities should and can go hand-in-hand.