Several developers and conservationists have recently cited a report from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (“The Impact of Wind Power Projects on Residential Property Values in the United States”) as showing that wind turbines do not have a negative impact on property values.
I downloaded the report and reviewed it to see if any aspects of the analysis stood out relative to our current situation in Plymouth with wind turbines.
Two aspects stood out. The first is that the wind turbine projects examined in the report were all located in 12 very rural areas in the USA. These wind turbine projects were located in counties with an average population density of 56.3 people per square mile. Population densities ranged from 23 per square mile in Umatilla County, Ore., to 106 per square mile in Madison County, N.Y.
For perspective, the population density of Plymouth County is 715 people per square mile! This is 12.7 times greater than the average population density seen in the study.
It is not surprising to me that the wind turbine projects cited in the analysis are located in rural areas where land is relatively cheap, the wind is steady, and there are fewer neighbors to annoy.
The other factor that stood out was that of the total of 7,459 property sales examined in the analysis, only 3 percent (225) of those property sales were physically located less than one mile from a wind turbine (the other 97 percent of the sales were located one to five miles from a wind turbine). This also makes sense to me given the low population density around the wind turbine projects that were analyzed.
Compare this to the fact that all of the wind turbine projects proposed for West Plymouth are less than a mile from hundreds of residences. There are more West Plymouth residences within a mile of either of the proposed wind turbines than the total number of property sales within one mile of all of the wind turbine projects examined in the Lawrence Berkeley analysis.
From the above, I conclude that wind turbines will have little or no negative impact on property values as long as the wind turbines are located in rural areas with low population densities; and as long as few residences are located less than a mile from the wind turbine.
Neither of the wind turbines proposed for West Plymouth meet this criteria. Neither project should be allowed to proceed.
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