Wind farms have nothing to do with home prices

Ten credible reliable studies covering about 1.3 million property transactions by different respected and independent organizations in three different countries spread over fifteen years have found no correlation between operating wind turbines and negative property values.

People are scared so be nice

For most people, their home is their biggest investment. Changes to what’s around them make them nervous, and a bunch of people are pretty hardcore about scaring them. So when you think about people living near areas where wind farms are proposed, take a minute and think how you would feel if a big change were going to happen next door. That said . . .

There’s just no correlation between wind farms and property values

There have been several major studies done in the past fifteen years which keep showing that there isn’t any connection between wind farms and how much houses sell for.

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The largest and longest duration study was released by the Center for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) in the UK. They were commissioned by RenewableUK, the industry body for wind and marine energy generation, which in many minds will reduce the merit of the study, however, it covers over one million property transactions in counties with wind farms over 18 years, making it the study with by far the largest statistical base and longest perspective. The methodology and statistics are sound. Their findings?

Our analysis of the raw house price data for transactions completed within the vicinity of the wind farms yielded no evidence that prices had been affected by either the announcement, construction or completion of the wind farms for six out of seven sites.

In fact, the analysis shows that on average, house prices near wind farm sites grew faster for the periods between the start of construction and mid-2013 (0.8% annual growth) than at the wider county-level (0.5% annual growth). One site did see a noticeable downturn following the announcement that a wind farm would be built; however once the turbines were erected, local house price growth returned to the county-wide norm.

Another big study is the 2013 update of the 2009 Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory study, described below in detail. What did they conclude?

we find no statistical evidence that home values near turbines were affected in the post-construction or post-announcement/pre-construction periods.

This major study controlled for significantly more variables and concerns than previous studies and found no impact on property values from wind farms.

The LBNL also collaborated with the University of Connecticut on an assessment of property value impacts near wind farms in the US state of Massachusetts in 2013, publishing their results in January 2014. They spread the net even wider:

To determine if wind turbines have a negative impact on property values in urban settings, this report analyzed more than 122,000 home sales, between 1998 and 2012, that occurred near the current or future location of 41 turbines in densely- populated Massachusetts communities.

The results of this study do not support the claim that wind turbines affect nearby home prices.

In January of 2014, a Canadian study assessing impacts of the Melancthon wind farms — at one point the largest in Canada — on home and farmland property values over another 7,004 property transactions. The conclusions?

these results do not corroborate the concerns raised by residents regarding potential negative impacts of turbines on property values.

Also in 2013, the University of Rhode Island performed an assessment specifically of property transactions in that US state. They covered 48,554 property transactions over thirteen years, both near and far from the twelve large and mid-sized wind turbines constructed in ten sites between 2006 and 2013.

our best estimate is wind towers have no virtually effect on prices of nearby properties.

The best study in this field prior to 2013 was funded by the US Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. They charged the Ernest Orlando Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, a government-funded laboratory managed by the University of California to study the concern.  This report was delivered in 2009. Here’s what they found:

none of the models uncovers conclusive evidence of the existence of any widespread property value impacts that might be present in communities surrounding wind energy facilities.

The Renewable Energy Policy Project’s (REPP) 2003 study is worth looking at as well. While the oldest, it also assessed the largest pool of data, more than 25,000 property transactions in the USA.  What did they find?

  • For 8 of the 10 of the wind projects, property values increased faster inside the five mile limit than outside of it over the six years.
  • For 9 of the 10 wind projects, property values increased faster within the five mile limit after the wind projects came online than they had before.
  • For 9 of the 10 wind projects, property values increased faster within the five mile limit after the wind projects came online than in the comparable communities.

Not only did this massive study not find negative impacts on real estate values, it found exactly the opposite: wind turbines have a positive impact on real estate values in some areas.

The study “Wind Farm Proximity And Property Values: A Pooled Hedonic Regression Analysis Of Property Values In Central Illinois” by Jennifer L. Hinman in 2010 is worth looking at. The study evaluated 3,851 residential property transactions from January 1, 2001 through December 1, 2009 from McLean and Ford Counties, Illinois around the 240-turbine, Twin Groves wind farm (Phases I and II) in eastern McLean County, Illinois.

Ms. Hinman’s study found no correlation between a working wind farm and decreased property values, in fact saw more rapid price increases nearer to the wind farm as was observed in the REPP report.  Her study most clearly shows that there is a statistical correlation between fears about a wind farm before it is erected, temporarily depressing property values, and that this temporary dip is rapidly eliminated once the wind farm is in operation.[18]

A New Hampshire, USA study published in December 2012 assessed another 4,600 property transactions and found:

this study has found no evidence that the Project has had a consistent, statistically‐significant impact on property values within the Lempster region. This is consistent with the near unanimous findings of other studies—based their analysis on arms‐length property sales transactions—that have found no conclusive evidence of wide spread, statistically significant changes in property values resulting from wind power projects.

So where does that leave us?

Well, lots of big, credible studies by independent organizations find no impact. And a smaller number of tiny studies seem to contradict them. The weight of evidence is strongly on one side of the scale, and it’s not the fear-monger’s side.