A full scale wind farm is not a subtle piece of landscaping, and many folks express concern over losing their view, their rural character, or *gasp* their property values. As the number of communities considering wind energy development grows, the need to empirically investigate these concerns does, too.
Good news, as far as property values are concerned, comes from a new report from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and coauthored by Bard Center for Environmental Policy (A 3p Partner), which finds no widespread impact of wind facilities on residential property values. The report, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, constitutes the most comprehensive and data-rich analysis to date on the potential impact of U.S. wind projects on residential property values.
“Neither the view of wind energy facilities nor the distance of the home to those facilities was found to have any consistent, measurable, and significant effect on the selling prices of nearby homes,” says report coauthor Ben Hoen, a consultant for Berkeley Lab, and a Bard graduate. “No matter how we looked at the data, the same result kept coming back: no evidence of widespread impacts.” Gautam Sethi, coauthor of the study and Hoen’s master’s thesis adviser at the Bard CEP, said Berkeley’s is the first large-scale study that investigates such a long-standing claim in a rigorous fashion.
The project’s team of researchers collected data on almost 7,500 sales of single-family homes situated within 10 miles—with the closest home within 800 feet—of 24 existing wind facilities in nine states. Each home in the sample was visited to collect important on-site information, such as whether wind turbines were visible from the home. The home sales used in the study occurred between 1996 and 2007, spanning the period prior to the announcement of each wind energy facility to well after its construction and full-scale operation. The conclusions of the study are drawn from eight different hedonic models, as well as both repeat sales and sales volume models.
“It took three years to collect all of the data and analyze more than 50 different statistical model specifications,” says coauthor and project manager Ryan Wiser of Berkeley Lab, “but without that amount of effort, we would not have been confident we were giving stakeholders the best information possible. Though the analysis cannot dismiss the possibility that individual homes or small numbers of homes have been negatively impacted, it finds that if these impacts do exist, their frequency is too small to result in any widespread, statistically observable impact.”
In case you want to have a closer look, the report, “The Impact of Wind Power Projects on Residential Property Values in the United States: A Multi-Site Hedonic Analysis,” can be downloaded in PDF form here with a power point digest available here.
For more information on the report, leave us a comment and we can connect you directly with the co-authors.
The Bard Center for Environmental Policy is a partner of Triple Pundit. Its primary goal is to improve environmental policies by facilitating the use of the best available scientific knowledge in the policy-making process at the local, regional, national, and international levels. Bard CEP’s premise is that to address environmental problems and pursue sustainable use of natural resources, scientists, economists, lawyers, ethicists, and policy makers must understand one another’s perspectives and values, and communicate effectively with the general public.
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