The Impact of Wind Turbines on Property Values
by Yvonne von Jena | August 2, 2018
The impact of wind turbines on nearby property values is difficult to define, but some hard numbers are beginning to emerge according to Inman. Although the information is US-based, it does provide helpful insights.
Setback rules and other land use regulations often protect urban, suburban and exurban dwellers from such unsightly intrusions. As a result, the research is mostly focused on rural areas. The Center for Rural Affairs (CFRA) recently released a fact sheet that summarizes several studies on the topic, under the title, “Wind Energy and Property Values.”
It cites a 2013 study from the US Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, which looked at data for more than 50,000 home sales in 27 counties spread out over 9 states and found no impact on property values before and after wind farm development. It found, “previous research on potentially analogous disamenities (e.g., high-voltage transmission lines, roads) suggests that the property-value effect of wind turbines is likely to be small, on average, if it is present at all, potentially helping to explain why no evidence of an effect was found in the present research.”
The rationale is that rural wind farms are not generally located in pristine areas. They tend to be located where existing transmission lines and access roads make wind energy development economically feasible. As a result, if the existing development has already factored into nearby property values, the addition of a new wind farm is not going to make a significant difference.
That observation is underscored by a 2009 reported issued by a Wisconsin-based appraisal company, Forensic Appraisal Group, Ltd. They broke it down by best use of a property. If the best use is a pristine viewshed, the loss of value is predictable and significant when the view is suddenly peppered with new wind turbines, access roads and maintenance buildings. Other than that, the group’s research did not uncover any significant impacts.
There is also some interesting literature on the attitudes of individuals living near wind farms. According to Inman, this can range from “strongly annoyed” to quite positive. For example, a study by Berkeley Lab over a four-year period found that, "individuals moving into the area after wind project construction were significantly more positive than those already in the community, implying that more supportive individuals might be self-selecting into the community."
Also worth noting and to put the subject of wind farms in the larger context of rural development, the CFRA emphasizes that existing agricultural operations are a far more common source of disamenities than wind farms, especially when it comes to livestock operations.