Wind power doesn't hurt home sales, says study

new_jersey_wind_turbine Good neighbor or costly menace? (Taryn_*/Flickr)

A study from the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory concludes wind turbine projects have no discernable impact on the value of nearby homes.

The study was done on about 7,500 home sold between 1996 and 2007 and located within 10 miles of 24 existing wind facilities in nine different states. The data includes values before the announcement of each wind energy project until well after its construction and full-scale operation. The closest home was 800 feet from a wind facility, according to the study. Each home site was visited to see if wind turbines were visible from the home.

“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 author Ben Hoen, a consultant to Berkeley Lab. “No matter how we looked at the data, the same result kept coming back – no evidence of widespread impacts.”

Preliminary results of the study have been kicking around the wind energy community for more than a year, but this is the final release of the study.
Based on the earlier information, however, some fierce opponents to wind projects have blasted the methodology. One critique is that the study failed to take into account variables like home size, number of rooms or other factors when determining if home prices were affected. Proximity to the wind projects was the only factor, they argue.
The American Wind Energy Association was naturally happy-as-can-be by the findings.
“Yeee-haw!” cried AWEA CEO Denise Bode in a statement. Ok, she didn’t really say that, but you wanna bet that’s what she was thinking? What she really said:

“The conclusions of this study could not be more definitive–wind farms do not weaken property values,” Bode said. “These important research findings offer good news for those communities that might be considering the location of wind farms nearby. Wind energy has multiple benefits: it creates jobs, reduces greenhouse gases, and delivers direct economic benefits to rural communities. Now we can also say that wind energy has no impact on property values.”

Here’s a link to the report itself (a 164-page pdf). For those of us with shorter attention spans here’s the 34-page PowerPoint summary.