Of the $222 million paid, more than $156 million goes to landowners in counties with below average incomes, AWEA said. About 70 percent of wind farms in rural areas are located in low-income counties, meaning the median household income falls below the U.S. median household income. This share represents more than $101 billion in wind farm investments.
Landowners in six states receive more than $10 million a year in lease payments. Texas tops the list, followed by Iowa, California, Oklahoma, Illinois and Kansas. Landowners in 26 different states receive over $1 million a year.
The 191 million megawatt-hours of wind generated in 2015 led to nearly 73 billion gallons of water saved. Wind power also costs two-thirds as much as it did six years ago, and in some parts of the U.S., wind power is the lowest-cost generating source.
The data released will be part of AWEA’s 2015 U.S. Wind Industry Annual Market Report, which is set for release this year in Denver, Colorado, on April 12.