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No Widespread Impact of U.S. Wind Power Projects on Neighboring Residential Property Values

The United States now has over 30,000 megawatts of installed wind energy capacity, and an increasing number of communities are considering new wind power facilities. Given these developments, there is an urgent need to investigate typical community concerns about wind energy, to provide stakeholders in the wind project siting process with a common knowledge base. One of those concerns is whether or not the property values of nearby homes decline when a wind project is constructed in the vicinity. A report released in December 2009 by the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory evaluated that concern and found that proximity to wind energy facilities does not have a pervasive or widespread adverse effect on the property values of nearby homes.

The DOE-funded report is based on site visits, data collection, and analysis of almost 7,500 single-family home sales, making it the most comprehensive, data-rich analysis to date on the potential impact of U.S. wind projects on residential property values.

View of wind energy facilities.

"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," says report author Ben Hoen, a consultant to Berkeley Lab. "No matter how we looked at the data, the same result kept coming back—no evidence of widespread impacts."

The team of researchers for the project collected data on homes situated within 10 miles of 24 existing wind facilities in nine different U.S. states; the closest home was 800 feet from a wind facility. Each home in the sample was visited to collect important on-site information such as whether wind turbines were visible from the home. The home sales used in the study occurred between 1996 and 2007, spanning the period prior to the announcement of each wind energy facility to well after its construction and full-scale operation.

The conclusions of the study were drawn from eight different hedonic pricing models, as well as repeat sales and sales volume models. A hedonic model is a statistical analysis method used to estimate the impact of house characteristics on sales prices. None of the models uncovered conclusive statistical evidence of the existence of any widespread property value effects that might be present in communities surrounding wind energy facilities.

"It took three years to collect all of the data and analyze more than 50 different statistical model specifications," says co-author and project manager Ryan Wiser of Berkeley Lab, "but without that amount of effort, we would not have been confident we were giving stakeholders the best information possible."

"Though the analysis cannot dismiss the possibility that individual homes or small numbers of homes have been negatively impacted, it finds that if these impacts do exist, their frequency is too small to result in any widespread, statistically observable impact," he added.

Above average scenic vista from a property.

The analysis revealed that home sales prices are very sensitive to the overall quality of the scenic vista from a property, but that a view of a wind energy facility did not demonstrably impact sales prices. The Berkeley Lab researchers also did not find statistically observable differences in prices for homes located closer to wind facilities than those located further away, or for homes that sold after the announcement or construction of a wind energy facility when compared to those selling prior to announcement. Even for those homes located within a one-mile distance of a wind project, the researchers found no persuasive evidence of a property value impact.

"Although studies that have investigated residential sales prices near conventional power plants, high-voltage transmission lines, and roads have found some property value impacts," says co-author and San Diego State University Economics Department Chair Mark Thayer, "the same cannot be said for wind energy facilities, at least given our sample of transactions."

— The Electricity Markets and Policy Group

For more information, contact:

  • Ben Hoen
  • (845) 758-1896
  • Ryan Wiser
  • (510) 486-5474

Electricity Markets and Policy, Renewable Energy

The report, The Impact of Wind Power Projects on Residential Property Values in the United States: A Multi-Site Hedonic Analysis, can be downloaded from Electricity Markets and Policy, Renewable Energy Publications.

A PowerPoint presentation summarizing key findings from the study is also available.

More information about DOE's Wind and Water Power Program.

This research is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

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