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Wind Turbines Don't Decrease Property Values

The real question is how much sea-front property is worth when its under water or bombarded by hurricanes?
Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Donald Trump and other NIMBY-types who fear that building wind turbines near their property will devalue it can rest easy. A new study from the Berkeley Lab looked at 50,000 home sales near 67 wind facilities spanning nine states and “was unable to uncover any impacts to nearby home property values.”

Wind power in the United States grew by 13 gigawatts in 2012. As wind-generated energy becomes more popular, more turbines are planned near more populated parts of the country—in New York, New England and the Upper Midwest. Wind power is now the fastest-growing energy source in the country.

Clean and popular as they are, one perceived limitation on wind turbines has been the idea that they’ll sully views of the ocean and mountain tops with their spinning and blinking lights, which–aesthetics aside—carries a price tag for homeowners. But this study says that that just isn’t the case.

There is an “anticipation stigma” after the wind turbines are announced and before their construction begins, which shows up as lower community support. But after construction begins, community support returns, and any effect on property prices is negligible. According to the study:

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

Just as the fears of mass avian deaths are assuaged by looking at the statistics—cats kill way more birds and hardly generate any electricity at all—fears that a nearby wind farm will ruin your property don’t really hold up to scrutiny, no matter how much Trump whinges about it. The next time someone brings it up, be sure to ask how much their sea-front property will be worth when it’s completely under water.