Turbines don’t lower values of neighboring property — DOE report

Source: Katherine Ling, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, August 29, 2013

Wind farms don’t crimp their neighbors’ property values, according to a report released yesterday by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

The report is welcome news for communities with wind turbines in the offing. Wind was the fastest growing U.S. energy source in 2012, with 13 gigawatts of wind turbines installed for a total installed wind capacity of about 60 GW, the Department of Energy said.

Wind is expected to grow by about 5 to 6 GW per year, which means about 2,750 more turbines annually, with much of the growth expected in populated areas, according to the Berkeley Lab report.

Berkeley Lab calls the report the most comprehensive to date, drawing upon the largest home-sale data set, including more than 50,000 home sales among 27 counties in nine states, all within 10 miles of 67 different wind facilities, and almost 2,000 sales within a mile of a wind turbine.

States included in the survey were Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Washington.

To factor in the bursting in 2008 of the housing bubble and to control for potential impacts on home values other than wind turbines, researchers looked at prices from well before the announcement of the wind facilities to well after the construction, as well as using other “sophisticated techniques,” the DOE lab said.

“Although there have been claims of significant property value impacts near operating wind turbines that regularly surface in the press or in local communities, strong evidence to support those claims has failed to materialize in all of the major U.S. studies conducted thus far,” Ben Hoen, the lead author of report and a researcher in the Environmental Energy Technologies Division at Berkeley Lab, said in a statement.

Berkeley did a similar report in 2009 that also found wind turbines had no effect on residential property values.

The new report also compares the impact of wind turbines on home values to the impacts of other industrial facilities, and found impacts similar to those of low-volume landfills or transmission lines: 3 to 4 percent “maximum possible effect.”

Researchers arrived at this conclusion by considering sight and sound “pollution” issues of the wind turbines, weighed against the positive environmental and tax-base benefits, which would include having no carbon emissions or waste and improved school quality, for instance.