Wind Power and Property Values

Timlynn Babitsky | Issues: Strategies & Tactics,Property Values | Sunday, September 7th, 2008

by Timlynn Babitsky
“Up goes a wind farm and down goes property value.” Outcries in Nova Scotia, the UK and even the US would have us think so. But a well-researched study of 10 major wind projects across the US shows that property values within five miles of a wind farm actually rose more quickly than comparables in the region.

If you are working to get a community wind project developed, you will very likely run into opponents who point to claims in the media and at siting hearings that wind development will lower the value of property within view of the turbines.

To systematically review this issue, researchers with the Renewable Energy Policy Project (REEP) assembled a database covering every US wind development project that came on-line after 1998 with 10 MW installed capacity or greater.

Properties within five miles of the installed turbines were analyzed. Visual impact is generally accepted as being within five miles of the turbines. Background research showed that although wind turbines may be visible beyond five miles, they are not highly noticeable, and they have relatively little influence on the landscape’s overall character and quality. The area within a five mile radius of a turbine was used as the “view shed”.

For a time period covering about six years and straddling the on-line date of the projects, the records for all property sales for the view shed and for a community comparable to the view shed were gathered. This database contained more than 25,000 records of property sales for which sufficient data was available. This data was put to rigorous statistical analyses to determine the effects of wind projects on the wind shed property values.

Analysis tested the hypothesis that if wind development can reasonably be claimed to hurt property values, then a careful review of the sales data should show a negative effect on property values within the view shed of the wind projects.

In May 2003, an 81 page REPP Analytical Report was published covering the data, data collection and statistical analyses in deep detail. The Report concluded that statistical evidence does not support the idea that property values within the view shed of wind projects suffer or perform more poorly than in a comparable region.

In fact, for the ten major wind projects analyzed, property values increased faster in the view shed in eight of the ten projects. And, in nine of the ten cases property values increased faster after the project came on line than they did before. Finally, after projects came on-line, property values increased faster in the view shed than they did in the comparable community.

If you are working on a wind project, make sure you do your homework on this important issue. You do not need to be a statistician to understand the findings of the REPP Report here. They will help you answer opponents who use the “plummeting property values” argument against your project.

See The Effect of Wind Development on Property Values

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