CREDIT: AP/Orlin Wagner
Homeowners who live near wind farms can rest easy — a new study has found wind turbines don’t significantly decrease property values.
The study, published by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, looked at more than 50,000 home sales near 67 wind farms in nine states. The homes were all within 10 miles of the wind facilities — about 1,100 homes were within 1 mile, with 331 within half a mile. Researchers found no statistical evidence that wind turbines negatively affected property values — neither before nor after the turbines were constructed. The data confirm what some previous studies have found: neither the announcement of a wind farm (and any subsequent debate) nor the construction of a wind farm itself causes nearby home values to decline.
The study adds substantial evidence against the claim that wind turbines decrease property values — it’s the most comprehensive study of its kind to date, with its large sample size and use of careful techniques to make sure other potential impacts on property prices were controlled for. As the study notes, previous research has concentrated on smaller sample sizes, and has mostly focused on the values of homes after wind projects are constructed, rather than the period between a project’s announcement and its construction.
The study is the second the LBNL has published on the subject — the first, in 2009, analyzed 7,500 home sales located within 10 miles of 24 existing wind projects. It looked at three major areas of concern with wind farms and property values: nuisance stigma, which is the concern that the sound and shadow of a turbine could affect property values; scenic vista stigma, which is the concern that turbines would disrupt otherwise natural views from homeowners’ windows, and area stigma, which is the concern that the area around the home will look more developed with the addition of a wind farm. The 2009 study found that these concerns didn’t significantly affect home values.
Both studies note their results don’t mean that there will never be a case of an individual home whose value goes down due to its proximity to a wind farm — just that if these situations do exist, they’re rare enough to be insignificant statistically.
“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,” said Ben Hoen, lead author of the report.
The results are good news for homeowners — wind power is one of the fastest-growing energy sources in the country, so new wind projects are likely to continue popping up in the U.S. In 2012, the U.S. installed 13 gigawatts of wind — more than all new coal-fired or gas-fired energy sources. Americans support wind energy — 76 percent of Americans want more wind to be added to the U.S. electrical grids, according to a Texas A&M study. And far from worrying that wind turbines will affect their property values, an increasing number of Americans are installing turbines on their property to generate their own energy.