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Wind Turbines and Property Values

A study in Rhode Island finds that wind turbines have at most only a slight effect on the value of nearby homes

Posted on Dec 30 2013 by Scott Gibson

University of Rhode Island researchers analyzed sale prices of more than 48,000 homes over a 13-year period and concluded wind turbines have no significant effect on the value of houses located as close as a half-mile away.

The Providence Journal reported the sales prices of homes within a half-mile of a turbine might have been depressed by 0.2 percent. But Corey Lang, an assistant professor of natural resource economics, said that was within the study's margin of error.

"While we cannot conclude for sure that there is no effect on housing prices, there is no statistical evidence of a large, adverse effect,” the study said.

The results mirror those of a study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, which found wind farms had little or no effect on property values. Researchers in the Berkeley Lab study looked at 50,000 home sales in nine states.

Rhode Island's wind industry is relatively modest. The first turbine was installed in 2006, and there are now just a dozen turbines in the state. This study, funded by the Rhode island Office of Energy Resources, was part of a project to determine the most appropriate areas to install more turbines, build solar farms and build low-head hydroelectric projects, The Journal said.

13 years of sales information

Lang compared property values over a 13-year span, from January 2000 to February 2013. He looked at property values before construction was announced, during construction and then again after the turbines had begun operating. According to The Journal, property values were generally on a decline during that period because of the recession. Lang, however, found that decreases in prices were similar for houses close to the turbines and those far away.

The report notes that despite a state goal of generating 15% of the state's electricity with wind, progress has been slow.

"Wind energy proposals commonly meet with strong opposition despite widespread public support for wind energy in the abstract, and a major source of opposition that is commonly articulated is a concern that wind turbines may adversely affect property values," the report says. "As a consequence, it is important to assess the extent to which wind turbines affect transaction prices of nearby properties. "

Lang recommended a followup study.


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