By George Harvey
A report from Lawrence Livermore says that wind turbines do not change the values of property near them in any way the researchers could consider statistically significant. It concludes, “Across all model specifications, we find no statistical evidence that home prices near wind turbines were affected in either the post-construction or post-announcement/preconstruction periods.”
This particular report is important because it uses a larger sampling of property transactions than earlier studies had used. There were 50,000 real estate transactions included in the study. Sixty-seven wind farms were included in the study, and there were 1198 sales for real estate properties that were less than a mile from the wind farms.
Real estate transactions were separated into groups according to distance from the turbines. Those involving property close to the wind farms were compared to those that were farther away.
Sales were also considered on a before-and-after basis, addressing the question of what happened to real estate prices of the closest properties under three circumstances: (1) without any expectation of a wind farm, (2) with the anticipation that an announced wind farm would be built, and (3) after the wind farm was completed.
The study does not change earlier understanding except to reinforce it. Researchers at the University of New Hampshire released a study on the subject in 2012 that might be used as an example. It might be pointed out that though the study was sponsored by a wind organization, Antrim Wind Energy, LLC., the work was done by people who valued the reputations of both themselves and the university. That report includes a meta-study of earlier reports yet, from six different sources, representing an aggregate of 30,000 real estate transactions. The results of all these research efforts are similar, and the report from Lawrence Livermore agrees with them.
Though there are unquestionably people who push the idea that wind farms drive prices down, these studies suggest they are wrong. The reasons given for supposed declines in property values are easy to understand, but not necessarily correct. In fact, they could conceivably even be based on deceptive attempts to get people to sell their property quickly or at below market value.
On the other hand, windpower resources pay taxes and require little or nothing in the way of municipal services, so their effects on property values may be positive.