“Conventional” wisdom, often covered in press reports concerning the latest anti-wind turbine protest, states that wind turbines significantly impact property value. Some say the wind turbines’ futuristic image, reaching high above the skyline, are an eyesore. More claim that the construction work in already-developed neighbourhoods decrease neighbourhood appeal. Others attribute this impact to the mental health impacts that the turbines’ sound waves have on nearby homeowners. While these concerns may seem legitimate on paper and in the middle of protest rallies, the claims actually have no factual backing.
According to the most recent study by Lawrence Berkeley National Research Laboratory, wind turbines and wind farms do not actually have an appreciably negative effect on home values. The study analyzed more than 50,000 home sale near 67 wind farms in 27 counties across 9 states. These homes were within 10 miles of the wind facilities, with over 1,000 sales being made within a mile of a turbine. As well, the data span periods before the plans to erect a nearby wind turbine was announced and after the turbine was constructed. The study is the latest in a series of papers that analyze the effect of wind turbines on nearby property values. The previous papers were published in 2009 and 2011 and, while smaller than the currently published research paper, had the same results.
“Regardless of model specification, [the researchers] found no statistical evidence that home values near turbines were affected in the post-construction or post-announcement/pre-construction periods…”
The lead researcher of the study, Ben Hoen, was direct is stopping any loose interpretations of their study. “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 fair,” said Hoen in a press release.
Interestingly, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory researchers found similar academic studies in small communities in New York, Ontario, the United Kingdom, and Germany. Only the German study found any evidence that wind turbines affect property values.
These studies provide wind turbine supports with even more ammunition to combat anti-turbine protestors. Increasingly, it seems that many of the protestors’ concerns — from the repeatedly debunked “wind turbine syndrome” to the false claims about decreased property values — are grounded on false rhetoric. In order for the U.S. to continue supporting alternative energy plans, it needs to first remove these doubts that have managed to affect public discourse. With any luck, studies like these will make the public more unanimous in supporting wind turbines.