Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) along with University of Connecticut analyzed more than 122,000 home sales near 26 wind facilities (with over 1,500 within a mile of operating turbines) in densely populated Massachusetts, yet was unable to uncover any impacts to nearby home property values.
“This is the third of three major studies we have conducted on this topic [the first was published in 2009, and the second last August], and in all studies [using three different datasets] we find no statistical evidence that operating wind turbines have had any measureable impact on home sales prices,” says Ben Hoen, the co-author of the new report. Hoen is a researcher in the Environmental Energy Technologies Division of Berkeley Lab.
One of the unique contributions of this most recent study is that impacts from turbines as well as a suite of other environmental amenities and disamenities were investigated. The study found strong evidence that highways, major roads, electricity transmission lines, open space and beaches impact property values, but no similar evidence was uncovered for turbines.
“When we find our model so accurately predicts impacts from other amenities and disamenities, we are considerably more confident of our findings for turbines”, says lead author Carol Atkinson-Palombo, Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography of the University of Connecticut.
This study, the most comprehensive to-date, in terms of numbers of transactions, builds on both the previous U.S.-wide Berkeley Lab studies as well as a number of other academic and published U.S. studies, which also generally find no measureable impacts near operating turbines.
“Although there have been claims of significant property value impacts near operating wind turbines that regularly surface in the press or in local communities, strong evidence to support those claims has consistently failed to materialize in all of the major U.S. studies conducted thus far”, says Hoen.
The research was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and by Massachusetts Clean Energy Center.
Here’s the executive summary and overview:
This study investigates a common concern of people who live near planned or operating wind developments: How might a home’s value be affected by the turbines? Previous studies on this topic, which have largely coalesced around non-significant findings, focused on rural settings. Wind facilities in urban1 locations could produce markedly different results. Nuisances from turbine noise and shadow flicker might be especially relevant in urban settings, where negative features, such as landfills or high voltage utility lines, have been shown to reduce home prices. To determine if wind turbines have a negative impact on property values in urban settings, this report analyzed more than 122,000 home sales, between 1998 and 2012, that occurred near the current or future location of 41 turbines in densely-populated Massachusetts communities.
1 The term “urban” in this document includes both urban and suburban areas.
The results of this study do not support the claim that wind turbines affect nearby home prices. Although the study found the effects from a variety of negative features (such as electricity transmission lines and major roads) and positive features (such as open space and beaches) generally accorded with previous studies, the study found no net effects due to the arrival of turbines in the sample’s communities. Weak evidence suggests that the announcement of the wind facilities had a modest adverse impact on home prices, but those effects were no longer apparent after turbine construction and eventual operation commenced. The analysis also showed no unique impact on the rate of home sales near wind turbines. These conclusions were the result of a variety of model and sample specifications detailed later in this report. tive summary and overview
Wind power generation has grown rapidly in recent decades. In the United States, wind development centered initially on areas with relatively sparse populations in the Plains and West. Increasingly, however, wind development is occurring in more populous, urbanized areas, prompting additional concerns about the effects of wind turbine construction on residents in those areas.
One important concern is the potential for wind turbines to create a “nuisance stigma”—due to turbine-related noise, shadow flicker, or both—that reduces the desirability and thus value of nearby homes. Government officials who are called on to address this issue need additional reliable research to inform regulatory decisions, especially for understudied populous urban areas. Our study helps meet this need by examining the relationship between home prices and wind facilities in densely-populated Massachusetts.
A variety of methods can be used to explore the effects of wind turbines on home prices. Statistical analysis of home sales, using a hedonic model, is the most reliable methodology because it (a) uses actual housing market sales data rather than perceptions of potential impacts; (b) accounts for many of the other, potentially confounding, characteristics of the home, site, neighborhood and market; and (c) is flexible enough to allow a variety of potentially competing aspects of wind development and proximity to be tested simultaneously. Previous studies using this hedonic modeling method largely have agreed that post-construction home-price effects (i.e., changes in home prices after the construction of nearby wind turbines) are either relatively small or sporadic. A few studies that have used hedonic modeling, however, have suggested significant reductions in home prices after a nearby wind facility is announced but before it is built (i.e., post-announcement, pre-construction) owing to an “anticipation effect.” Previous research in this area has focused on relatively rural residential areas and larger wind facilities with significantly greater numbers of turbines.
This previous research has done much to illuminate the effects of wind turbines on home prices, but a number of important knowledge gaps remain. Our study helps fill these gaps by exploring a large dataset of home sales occurring near wind turbine locations in Massachusetts. We analyze 122,198 arm’s-length single-family home sales, occurring between 1998 and 2012, within 5 miles of 41 wind turbines in Massachusetts. The home sales analyzed in this study occurred in one of four periods based on the development schedule of the nearby turbines (see Figure 2).2 To estimate the effect proximity to turbines has on home sale prices, we employ a hedonic pricing model in combination with a suite of robustness tests3 that explore a variety of different model specifications and sample sets, organized around the following five research questions:
The full report: http://emp.lbl.gov/sites/all/files/lbnl-6371e_0.pdf
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