Proximity to a wind power project does not generally hurt property values, according to a new report that seeks to settle a long-standing concern with the technology.
The study, released yesterday by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, assessed nearly 7,500 single-family houses and applied statistical methods and 10 different pricing models to draw its conclusions.
"Neither the view of wind energy facilities nor the distance of the home to those facilities was found to have any consistent, measurable, and significant effect on the selling prices of nearby homes," said Ben Hoen, the report's author and a consultant to the lab. "No matter how we looked at the data, the same result kept coming back -- no evidence of widespread impacts."
Homes included in the analysis were located near 24 wind-power facilities in nine states, and ranged from 800 feet to 10 miles from the nearest wind facility. The home sales examined took place between 1996 and 2007, extending from before projects were announced to after construction was completed and full operation was under way, researchers said.
Each home was also visited during the course of the study to collect data on project views and other information, researchers said.
The analysis relied on eight separate models related to real estate pricing, in addition to sales volume and repeat sales models.
Ryan Wiser, a co-author and the project manager for Berkeley Lab, said the study does not show that an individual home sale price was never affected by a wind project. "The techniques we used -- indeed, no technique -- would be able to identify an impact for an individual home," he said.
"That does not mean that there are not individual homes that might be impacted," Wiser added. "We have not identified any such homes in our dataset, but that's not to say there aren't any homes that were impacted."
Wiser said that in the context of a statistical look at the 7,500 home sales, what the analysis showed was that there was no statistically significant overall impact.
He said the study considered houses' views of wind facilities and other common concerns, but it did not specifically address sound levels. It did, through various pricing models, take into account dramatic changes in the housing market over the years in question.
The American Wind Energy Association issued a statement welcoming the study findings. "The conclusions of this study could not be more definitive -- wind farms do not weaken property values," CEO Denise Bode said. "Wind energy has multiple benefits: it creates jobs, reduces greenhouse gases, and delivers direct economic benefits to rural communities. Now we can also say that wind energy has no impact on property values."