How Industrial Wind Projects Affect Property Values

How Industrial Wind Projects Affect Property Values

A comparison of studies available

by Charles Ebbing

Those property owners who have leases and wind turbines on their property are affected differently than those who do not. Participating land owners have a cash flow to offset reductions (if any) in the economic value of their property due to close presence or wind turbines. This is not the case for non-participating property owners. Until now the Wind Industry claims that there is no economic impact on land owners near Wind Farms.

Attached are 4 pdf reports associated with the effect of home values near wind farms.  The links to download them at located at the end of this article.

  1. Canastota NY-property-value-assurance 2001 illustrates an early attempt of the wind farm industry to deal with a value assurance plan for homes close to a wind farm, it acknowledges that living close to a wind farm can affect property values.
  2. The effect of wind turbines on property value 2003 is a publication often used by the Wind Farm Industry to show that Wind Farm within 5 miles of property have little effect.
  3. Masters Thesis Impacts of Windmill Visibility on Property Values in 2006 is also often used by the Wind Farm Industry to discredit the negative effect of Wind Farms on property values.
  4. Wisconsin-wind-turbine-impact-study-on home values 2009. This recent study has been broken into three component parts, each looking at the value impact of the wind turbines from a different perspective. The three parts are:

* Literature study, which reviews and summarizes what has been published on this matter found in the general media.

* Opinion survey, which was given to area Realtors to learn their opinions on the impact of wind turbines in their area.

* Sales studies, which compared vacant residential lot sales within the wind turbine farm area to comparable sales located outside of the turbine influence.

One important difference with the recent 2009 Wisconsin report is the close proximity of turbines. In the 2003 REPP study no distance from turbines was considered.. they could be anywhere up to five miles distant. They recognized this flaw in their discussion suggesting future study should consider closeness to turbines. The 2006 Hoen study recognized distance, but did not consider anything closer than 4,000 ft. So, none of the studies often quoted by the wind industry considered the impacts on property values for those properties that have turbines close to them. This is why Group One's 2009 report is important, it fills the void identified by the two industry friendly reports that concluded there was no devaluation of property from wind farm projects.

In the studies the distance to the closest Wind Turbine was defined as:

  1. bordering proximity 600ft from the turbine
  2. close proximity 1,000ft from the turbine
  3. near proximity ½ mile from the wind turbines

The conclusion of the report:

In all cases with a 1-5 acre residential property, whether vacant or improved, there will be a negative impact in property value;

  • With 1-5 acre properties the negative impact in property value in bordering proximity ranged from -39% to -43%
  • With 1-5 acre properties the negative impact in property value in close proximity ranged from -33% to -36%
  • With 1-5 acre properties the negative impact in property value in near proximity ranged from -24% to -29%

In all cases the estimated loss of value between the vacant land and improved property was close, however the vacant land estimates were always higher by a few percentage points; Appears that hobby farm use on larger parcels would have lesser sensitivity to the proximity of wind turbines than single family land use; Placement either in front or at the rear of a residence has similar negative impacts.

The Reports' SUMMARY & CONCLUSIONS:

The sales study indicated three factors:

  1. Sales within the wind turbine influence area sold for less than those outside of this area
  2. There were substantially less sales available within the turbine influence area as compared to those sales outside of the influence area
  3. The impact of the wind turbines decreased the land values from -19% to -74%

Additionally, it can be said with a high rate of confidence that the impact of wind turbines on residential land sales is negative and creates a loss greater than -19% averaging -40%. It is logical to conclude that the factors that created the negative influence on vacant land are the same factors that will impact the improved property values. Therefore, it is not a leap of logic to conclude that the impact of wind turbines to improved property value would also be negative, most likely following the same pattern as the vacant land sales, that being greater than -19% averaging -40%

This report points to the fact that the economic impact on non-participants has no upside. The revenue from wind farm leases does have a counterbalancing effect on participating property owners.

If impacts from future turbine development in the North Country were such that some residents felt compelled to move, they should not lose a substantial portion of the investment in their home without being compensated by wind developers.

These facts should be carefully weighed by affected communities Town Boards. The purpose of zoning is protecting the Safety, Health and Welfare of it Citizens.

Charles Ebbing