The conclusion of Invenergy’s Stony Creek Wind Farm studies regarding property values reads as follows: “Both local and national studies demonstrated that there is no direct effect on property values from wind farms. Therefore, no mitigation is necessary.”
Their conclusion is based on a study done by the National Renewable Energy Laboratories (2009). NREL is an outgrowth of the U.S. Department of Energy and is the only federal agency dedicated to the research, development, commercialization and deployment of renewable energy. Why would Invenergy select the conclusions of a research group with such an obvious bias? Why didn’t they select, at least, two certified independent appraisal groups, including licensed, recognized Realtors, to perform this task?
As stated in Invenergy’s DEIS report on property values, the conclusion arrived at by this renewable energy group (NREL) was based primarily on the use of a statistical tool called regression analysis. Such analysis is concerned with the problem of describing or estimating the value of a dependent variable, in this case property values, on the basis of one or more independent variables such as homogeneity of property characteristics, specific location of turbines, density and proximity to residences, etc. The study states that it “analyzed” house prices from over 7,000 transactions in 10 different states “associated” with wind farms.
However, it neither cited the specific data included in the study nor detailed its methodology. The reader cannot learn from this report the location or type of transactions included in the study nor any other possible independent variables used in the equation (similarity of property, property characteristics, proximity to residence(s), density of turbines, specific location of turbines, noise and visual factors, etc). It simply concludes that wind turbines have no statistically significant effect on home prices. It tells us nothing about the number of homes that were sold in this sample, the pre/post appraisal of these homes, their location in relation to wind turbines, and most importantly, the number of homes for sale that are unable to be sold because of their proximity to a wind-turbine farm.
As you know from reading about the ongoing global warming science scandal, conclusions based on a statistical model can easily be skewed depending upon the variables a statistician includes, excludes or manipulates in a study. As the saying goes, “Figures don’t lie, but liars figure.”
Biased statistical studies aside, it is simply a matter of common sense that wind farms seriously impact property values. Given two identical rural homes and properties, one with wind turbines sited on neighboring properties and the other with no such encumbrances, in which one would you invest and in which one would you choose to live? For everyone, except those devoid of logic and common sense or that have a financial interest in wind turbines, the answer is painfully obvious. It does not rely on the conclusions of a statistical model; it is based on the reality of the marketplace as demonstrated in the local comparative property value study reported by Kathy Jensen (“Property values: The rest of the story,” letter, Nov. 28).
Although wind developers and their supporters vehemently deny that wind farms have any negative effect on property values, they refuse to provide legally enforceable guarantees of compensation for property value losses caused by such significant, long-term aesthetic, health and safety alterations of the natural environment. For all those supporting this negative position, I request that you convince the Orangeville Town Board and the Invenergy wind company to sign a legally enforceable agreement that protects all property owners against property loss. Since their claim is that there is no correlation between property values and wind-turbine farms, it will cost them nothing.
There is no consolation in being right when the victim is the owner of a property that has been significantly reduced in value as well as a diminished quality of life. Therefore, it is important that all non-participating Orangeville property owners have their property appraised as soon as possible. Hopefully, no one will require a post-appraisal.
Dr. Joseph A. Zampogna lives in Orangeville.
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