To be clear, a 2012 settlement of a lawsuit by 20 residents of Ubly Michigan with major wind developers is private and undisclosed. Nevertheless, this case opened the door to nearby homeowners being harmed by nearby wind developments. In the ten years since that settlement that may no longer be the case. Wind farms in your backyard are becoming the norm.
What has become clear is that the wind farm projects in rural areas have “settled in.” This means that the initial shock of the land-use change, in some cases over a decade ago, is no longer a forefront issue. We will review some recent research and reports that point to a shift in mindset over the impact of wind projects on property values.
Wind Farms Impact Property Values
It’s now a matter of public record that the wind farm defendants in the 2012 Ubly case did unsuccessfully attempt to prevent the opinion of a local property assessment firm that showed that the plaintiffs suffered a reduction in property values approaching $1 million. This negative impact on property values mirrors several landmark cases in Western Europe, where wind energy has grown over the last decade.
In a case in England in 2008, a homeowner prevailed in a lawsuit with her local government. Jane Davis was told she would get a discount on her council tax because her £170,000 ($268,000) home had been rendered worthless by a wind turbine 1,000 yards away.
Even the real estate mogul Donald Trump is not immune from the negative impact of wind farms. Trump is in the process of developing a golf and hotel resort in Scotland. Plans for developing 11 turbines near the resort in an offshore development have caused Trump to claim it will ruin the views from his new championship golf course north of Aberdeen, Scotland. Trump wrote the authorities, “With the reckless installation of these monsters, you will single-handedly have done more damage to Scotland than virtually any event in Scottish history.” Trump’s project is valued at $1.18B.
The 2010 Ubly case, while settled, may open up the proverbial can of worms as other nearby residents of established and projected wind farms attempt to sell their home or family farms in the months and years ahead.
Are Property Values Affected By Nearby Wind Farms?
Several studies have looked into the impact of wind farms on property values. For example, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory researched in 2013 included data from more than 50,000 properties in 27 counties across nine states.
Wind projects were within 10 miles of the properties, with 1,198 sales within one mile and 331 sales within half a mile. This study also used data from before a project was announced, throughout the post-announcement, pre-construction period, and during the project’s eventual operation.
According to the study, there was no evidence of an effect on housing prices in the vicinity of wind turbines. Similar investigations were conducted by the University of Rhode Island and the University of Connecticut. They collaborate with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to support the findings.
Review of Over 1 Million Real Estate Transactions
Another study from 2019, “If wind farms impact property values, it appears to be positive.” It found that wind farms have a positive impact on property values. According to this study, the evidence for property value effects is minimal, but the data on “absence of harm” is robust.
According to the study, there is no link between neighboring wind farms and sales prices. Despite continuing reviews of property values.
Property Value and Land Use Concerns Addressed
The U.S. Department of Energy commissioned a report in 2021 entitled “Land-Based Wind Energy Siting: A Foundational and Technical Resource” this report was written for local governments when considering a wind project in their community. Wind projects take 3-4 years to complete. This report offers a guide on the wind project process and how communities can optimize its benefit.
Property Values and Wind Farm Projects
The development of a new wind power project may cause concern among surrounding landowners who are concerned that the project would reduce the value of their property. However, the paper analyzes evidence that suggests wind energy growth has had little impact on nearby property values.
In 2009 and 2013, Berkeley Lab conducted in-depth examinations of the effects of wind energy on property values. The 2009 study examined over 7,500 single-family house purchases within 10 miles of 24 existing wind energy projects in nine U.S. states.
Their findings revealed that if property value impacts existed, they were too tiny or uncommon to have a widespread, statistically discernible impact. Even so, it couldn’t be ruled out the possibility that individual homes or small groups of properties may be negatively affected. The 2013 study examined over 50,000 home sales near 67 wind energy plants in 27 counties across nine U.S. states. They discovered no effects on nearby home property values.
Land Use and Wind Farm Projects
Residents may be concerned that a proposed wind energy project may impact farming, ranching, or recreational activities. “Land-Based Wind Energy Siting” provides background to alleviate their fears. Due to restrictions requiring proper distance between wind turbines and landscape features, 95–99 percent of the land can still be used for other purposes.
Property Value and Tax Resources
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