Wind Turbines: No Effect on Home Values. But We Knew That.

January 14, 2014

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Not new news, but reinforces what we already knew from several studies.

Wall Street Journal blogs:

This last worry – about property value loss — appears unfounded, according to a study released Friday by researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and the University of Connecticut. After analyzing more than 122,000 home sales in urban areas near 26 wind farms in Massachusetts, the researchers concluded that there was no statistical evidence that wind farms impact the value of nearby urban properties.

Interestingly, researchers found that in some cases, the announcement of a new wind farm may have contributed to a drop in some home prices. But after construction was completed, home prices appeared to be unaffected, according to the study.

That’s good news for the wind industry.

U.S. wind power capacity is likely to grow by 9% in 2014 to about 66,000 megawatts, and jump an additional 15% to 75,000 megawatts by the end of 2015, according to a Tuesday forecast by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Wind farms aside, the Lawrence Berkeley study found that Massachusetts home prices did appear to suffer if a property was near a landfill, power transmission line, highway or prison. Conversely, home values tended to be higher for properties near a beach or park, according to one of the study’s less-surprising findings.

Hartford Courant:

“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 consistently failed to materialize in all of the major U.S. studies conducted so far,” said Ben Hoen, the report’s co-author and a researcher at the Berkeley Lab.

Since previous research focused on real estate in rural areas, the new study analyzed urban and suburban home sales and found similar results.

“It’s all based on people’s perception of what the environment should be used for,” Atkinson-Palombo said. “We didn’t understand how this might play out in a more urbanized environment.”

She said that further research on the subject could look into the types of people who are moving into these homes and their feelings about wind power.

“There’s something in other work that I have done where we find a self-selection process,” Atkinson-Palombo said. “In relation to transportation, some people don’t like being near light rail stations, for example. They worry about crime, while others want to be by them” because they value the commuting infrastructure.

The research was supported by the U.S Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center. The researchers will present their findings in April. A paper based on the report is being reviewed for publication in the Journal of Real Estate Research.

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9 Responses to “Wind Turbines: No Effect on Home Values. But We Knew That.”

  1. daveburton Says:

    Aren’t wind farms connected to the grid by high-voltage transmission lines? So how can home prices suffer if near a power transmission line, but not suffer if near a wind farm?

    • Andy Lee Robinson Says:

      Think. Transmission lines would get fouled up by the blades!

      The voltage from a wind turbine is typically around 690V three phase.
      Cables from the towers run underground and are combined at a substation some distance away, and stepped up for above ground transmission.

      America would be better off if they buried cables and increased to 220V instead of 117V, which requires thicker cables to carry the same amount of power. Sadly this is impractical now the infrastructure has ‘set’.

      Half the voltage = twice the current, twice the copper, more heat loss, energy waste, and more fire risk.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      Kind of a dumb question, Dave, but you’re good at “dumb”, so I’ll comment and try to help you. First, read the full study, not just the WSJ blog, which is really just a subtle back-door attack on wind power. Then understand that it’s all about perceptions in Massachusetts, and may not reflect attitudes elsewhere. And lastly, understand that “near” is a relative term, and that high voltage transmission lines are linear, and “obtrusive” in a different way than wind turbines.

      The W&OD Rail Trail in northern VA exists only because the power company bought up the abandoned railroad right of way so that it could run high voltage transmission lines on towers along it for 50+ miles. The Park Authority then signed a lease with the power company to build the trail under them. Home values along that rail-trail are both enhanced and diminished by the presence of the amenity of the rail-trail and resulting linear park and the transmission lines. It’s all in the eye of the beholder. (Just like your buddies in NC-20 won’t be able to sell land that’s under water to anyone but fish, who will love it).


      • You expected a smart question? Not. Why do only wind turbines kill birds, blight the view, ruin home values, and cause mystery illnesses? I mean everyone loves the sight of huge smokestacks belching choking sulfurous smoke. And that endless stream of gasoline trucks with those cute danger symbols are so endearing. And the oil tankers that give birds such a cute black jacket, don’t they? I bet homes next to refineries are more coveted than ones next to golf courses. Just think of the view. Birds? Who wants birds pooping on your shiny new car? Good thing the refinery kills them. But I would nevvvver want a wind turbine to spoil the view from the golf course and condos I just created to replace a worthless undeveloped beach. The turbines might mess up my toup- I mean hair.

  2. dumboldguy Says:

    This dovetails nicely with that piece on the folks in Australia who have wind farms for neighbors. That was good video with good links to print sources also. The verdict down under was “bring ’em on”.


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