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Wind Turbine Impact Study  

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This is a study of the impact that wind turbines have on residential property value. The wind turbines that are the focus of this study are the larger turbines being approximately 389ft tall and producing 1.0+ megawatts each.

The study has been broken into three component parts, each looking at the value impact of the wind turbines from a different perspective. The three parts are: (1) a literature study, which reviews and summarizes what has been published on this matter found in the general media; (2) an opinion survey, which was given to area Realtors to learn their opinions on the impact of wind turbines in their area; and, 3) sales studies, which compared vacant residential lot sales within the wind turbine farm area to comparable sales located outside of the turbine influence.

The sponsor for this study was the Calumet County Citizens for Responsible Energy (CCCRE) (Calumet County, Wisconsin), which contracted our firm, Appraisal Group One, to research the value impact that wind turbines have on property value. Appraisal Group One (AGO) protected against outside influence from CCCRE by having complete independence to the gathering of facts, data and other related material and the interpretation of this data to the purpose of this study. AGO chose the location of the study, the search parameters, the methodology used and the three-step approach to the study. AGO does not enter into any contract that would espouse any preconceived notion or have a bias as to the direction of the study and its findings. The purpose of the study was to investigate the value impacts of large wind turbines, the issues influencing these impacts and to report these findings on an impartial basis. …

The geographic area of this study was focused in Dodge and Fond du Lac Counties. These two counties have three large wind farms. They are:

  • WE Energies − Blue Sky Green Field wind farm which has approximately 88 wind turbines and is located in the northeast section of Fond du Lac County, bordering Calumet County to the north.
  • Invenergy − Forward wind farm which has approximately 86 wind turbines and is located in southwest Fond du Lac County and northeast Dodge County.
  • Alliant − Cedar Ridge wind farm which has approximately 41 wind turbines and is located in the southeastern part of Fond du Lac County.

Of these three wind farms, only the WE Energies and Invenergy wind farms were used in the sales study since the Alliant – Cedar Ridge wind farm did not have enough viable sales within the turbine influence area to use as a base of comparison. The Realtor survey was limited to Fond du Lac and Dodge Counties, that being the area which had the three wind farms. …

Summary of Findings & Conclusion of Impact

The survey indicated that in all but two scenarios (those being Questions #8 and #9), over 60% the participants thought that the presence of the wind turbines had a negative impact on property value. This was true with vacant land and improved land. Where the group diverted from that opinion is when they were presented with a 10-20 acre hobby farm being in close and near proximity. In these cases 47% (close proximity) and 44% (near proximity) of the participants felt that the wind turbines caused a negative impact in property value.

The answers showed that bordering proximity showed the greatest loss of value at −43% for 1-5 acre vacant land and −39% for improved properties. Next in line was the close proximity showing a −36% value loss for 1-5 acre vacant land and −33% for improved property. Last in line was the near proximity, showing a −29% loss of value for a 1-5 acre vacant parcel and −24% loss in value for improved parcels. These losses show a close relationship between vacant land and improved land. This pattern was replicated regarding the bordering proximity for a hobby farm, whereas 70% believed it would be negatively impacted. Lastly, the opinions regarding the impact of the wind turbines due to placement, that being in front of the residence or behind the residence, showed that in both situations most participants believed there would a negative impact (74% said negative to the front placement and 71% said negative to the rear placement).

In conclusion, it can be observed that: (a) in all cases with a 1-5 acre residential property, whether vacant or improved, there will be a negative impact in property value; (b) with 1-5 acre properties the negative impact in property value in bordering proximity ranged from −39% to −43%; (c) with 1-5 acre properties the negative impact in property value in close proximity ranged from −33% to −36%; (d) with 1-5 acre properties the negative impact in property value in near proximity ranged from −24% to −29%; (e) in all cases the estimated loss of value between the vacant land and improved property was close, however the vacant land estimates were always higher by a few percentage points; (f) it appears that hobby farm use on larger parcels would have lesser sensitivity to the proximity of wind turbines than single family land use; and (g) placement either in front or at the rear of a residence has similar negative impacts.

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This article is the work of the author(s) indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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