With concurrent increases in energy prices, concern about climate change, and growth of the wind industry, some homeowners are becoming alarmed by a rumor that wind turbines decrease property value. However, in reality there is no connection between wind turbines and declining property values. In 2003, the Renewable Energy Policy Project (REPP) released a widespread investigative report after completing a research study entitled, “The Effect of Wind Development on Local Property Values”. Intended to uncover the validity of the property value reduction tale, the document revealed that “the presence of commercial-scale wind farms do not appear to harm ‘view shed’ property values.” The study looked at 25,000 homes across the United States that were located in the area known as the ‘view shed’ of a wind farm – the area within a 5 mile radius of a wind farm. The wind farms selected were greater than 10 MW in generating capacity.

The study found that, like many other human-made structures that are visible in the immediate and distant horizon, including buildings, grain elevators, water towers, silos, telephone poles, utility poles, transmission line towers, advertisement bill boards, and communication and cell phone towers, wind turbines do not have a negative effect on property value. Quite on the contrary, the study discovered that, in many cases, the property value actually increased in the presence of a wind farm. In fact, the study states that, “for the great majority of the projects, the property values actually rose more quickly in the view shed than they did in the comparable community. Moreover, values increased faster in the view shed after the projects came online than they did before.” Although this cannot comprehensively be contributed to the wind farms, this trend is a fascinating possibility to consider.

Multiple other research studies echo these same results. For example, a new report that studies wind farms across two states, spanning from 1998 through 2006, shows that wind energy facilities do not harm property values. In fact, some new-home buyers are embracing the benefits of such ‘green energy’ growth in their areas. Conducted by Peter J. Poletti, Ph.D., MAI, President of Poletti and Associates, and an Illinois Certified General Real Estate Appraiser, the study compared property sales in the target areas with non-wind farm areas with similar characteristics.

In another study completed several years ago, Ben Hoen, a Bard Center on Environmental Policy graduate student, looked at actual home sales near a 30-megawatt wind project with 20 installed wind turbines in central New York State. Over a decade, he examined 679 home sales occurring within 5 miles of the project. He found no evidence to support a drop in property values. To greatly expand the sample, Hoen teamed up with Ryan Wiser, a scientist with the Electricity Markets and Policy Group at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to continue the study. Together, they began research on the first methodical, juried and, eventually, published study on the documented effects of wind turbines on property values. Their preliminary results, as predicted, did not indicate a drop in property values due to wind farm installations. The finished study examined 3,500 to 5,000 home sales near 8 to 10 operating wind turbine projects.

In a presentation of preliminary findings from four sites with a total sample size of 2,195 home sales, the team stated that they had found “no statistical evidence to support that property sales within 4 to 7 miles of a wind facility were adversely affected.”

No statistically significant data indicate that there should be a concern about loss of property value in the view shed of wind farms. Neighbors of wind farms, along with the rest of America, stand to benefit from wind energy developments as they help us stimulate the economy through the creation of green jobs and concomitantly mitigate climate change by increasing our use of our abundant clean energy resources.