Property Rights vs. Wind Power

When Wind Energy is Against the Law!

Written by Brian Hicks
Posted October 30, 2014

windlawThis past July, Jay Nygard was risking jail time for an audacious crime.

He had the balls to install a small wind turbine on property he owns!

This treehugging scofflaw thumbed his nose at bureaucratic thugs and generated his own electrons with a micro wind turbine. Certainly such a criminal should be locked up. After all, he's clearly a threat to, um, wait ...what?!

Property Rights Denied

When I first heard the news of Jay Nygard's wind turbine, I was immediately transported back a few years to a time when a colleague of mine decided against installing his own micro wind turbine after the city he lives in demanded roughly $5,000 in permitting and regulatory fees. This, despite the fact that the turbine was in no way connected to the grid and utilized nothing that wasn't already on his property.

Of course, by paying the $5,000, his ROI would've been minimal at best. So he bailed.

His story is not uncommon. There are all kinds of nonsensical zoning restrictions and regulatory hoops one must jump through in order to have the privilege of being self-reliant. And maybe that's part of the reason they exist to begin with. What government would possibly want it's citizens to be self-reliant? That's like trying to convince ExxonMobil it should advertise electric cars.

In the case of Jay Nygard, however, I was completely thrown when I read that he risked jail time for this. Apparently, city reps said that his property wasn't suitable for wind machines. Interestingly, installing micro wind turbines is what Nygard does for a living, so I'm guessing he knows a thing or two about what's suitable and what's not.

Of course, none of this really matters. This is clearly a case of the city violating Nygard's property rights. Fortunately, a judge sided with Nygard this week, and he can now operate his wind turbine on his property without going to jail. Although, in all seriousness, that's how it should've been from day one.

Here's what Nygard had to say about the decision …

“I am happy to announce that the Hennepin County District Court has chosen to honor MN state law and overturn the City Of Orono’s complete ban of wind turbines. This is a big victory for Green Energy, and my company, Go Green Energy, in it’s long standing push to bring Micro Wind Turbines to the Minnesota market. I am personally thrilled to see that the district court has affirmed my position of the importance of Green Energy in our society. I am also pleased to see clearly stated in the order the property rights that I have been denied during my continued litigation with the City of Orono.”

You can read more about Jay's micro wind turbines here.