Gone with the Wind? The Potential Tragedy of the Common Wind

28 UCLA J. ENVTL. L. & POL’Y 435 (2010)

36 Pages Posted: 27 Nov 2010 Last revised: 27 Apr 2015

See all articles by Yael R. Lifshitz

Yael R. Lifshitz

Columbia University - Law School; New York University (NYU) - School of Law

Date Written: October 1, 2009


This note aims to explore the property interests in the wind, and particularly the potential tendency to overuse the wind resources. By looking at the typical characteristics of the “Tragedy of the Commons,” this note argues that the potential tragic tendency to overuse might occur regarding wind resources. Being such a unique, fugitive asset, wind entails a complex property regime, combining both private property interests and pubic ones. In addition, despite the initial intuition, wind is not entirely endless. Over time it can be exhausted, or at least significantly changed. This note therefore argues that the combination of these factors may lead to an excessive use of the resource, causing notable changes in the wind currents over time. This note then briefly discusses two possible ways to protect the valuable wind resources and prevent their exhaustion, both on a private level and as a public interest.

Keywords: Renewable Energy, Wind, Wind Energy, Tragedy of the Commons, Property

Suggested Citation

Lifshitz, Yael R., Gone with the Wind? The Potential Tragedy of the Common Wind (October 1, 2009). 28 UCLA J. ENVTL. L. & POL’Y 435 (2010). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1714623

Yael R. Lifshitz (Contact Author)

Columbia University - Law School ( email )

435 West 116th Street
New York, NY 10009

New York University (NYU) - School of Law ( email )

40 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012-1099
United States

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