Winds of Change: Drawing on Water Law Doctrines to Establish Wind Law

Yael R. Lifshitz Goldberg

New York University (NYU) - School of Law

November 15, 2013

Forthcoming N.Y.U. Envtl. L.J. (2014)

Wind presents a promising, clean, resource for energy production, which is likely to become even more significant in years to come although harvesting the wind also presents some compelling challenges with respect to property allocation and use of natural resources. Specifically, the extraction of wind by one wind farm can reduce the wind available for others in the downwind direction. Yet despite the apparent importance of the wind resources, there is surprisingly very little judicial or legislative guidance on the governance of wind. This paper therefore outlines potential structures for wind regimes, such that the existing wind resources will be optimally utilized. This is done by drawing on more mature regimes governing a similarly fluid and fugitive asset – water – which produces helpful lessons in the crafting of wind law.

This paper argues that overall, an administrative permitting system which resembles the regulated riparian regime may be best suited for governing our wind resources. In addition to the permitting system, wind-markets may be established to allow trading of ‘wind-rights’ between users such that the most efficient siting will take place through the market system. This may be especially useful in areas where the use of wind is more competitive. One interesting example of such a competitive setting may be the urban locality due to the recent expansion of small-wind projects.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 48

Keywords: renewable energy, wind, water law, environmental law, property law

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Date posted: November 17, 2013  

Suggested Citation

Lifshitz Goldberg, Yael R., Winds of Change: Drawing on Water Law Doctrines to Establish Wind Law (November 15, 2013). Forthcoming N.Y.U. Envtl. L.J. (2014). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2355518

Contact Information

Yael R. Lifshitz Goldberg (Contact Author)
New York University (NYU) - School of Law ( email )
40 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012-1099
United States
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