The impact of wind farms on the price of houses in proximity has been an issue of hot contention for years now, with advocate groups on both sides of the issue claiming the high scientific ground with competing reports and mounds of anecdotal evidence to boot. A new study conducted by the reputable London School of Economics recently released has found that large wind farms can drop house prices by up to 12% within a 2 kilometre radius.
The report comes only a few weeks after a contrasting report from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) which found that wind farms had no negative impact on property value within a 5 kilometre radius of a turbine.
Furthermore, CleanTechnica’s Mike Barnard wrote a comprehensive analysis of the issue, finding that “[n]ine major and statistically reliable studies covering roughly 270,000 property transactions by different respected and independent organizations in three different countries spread over fifteen years have found no correlation between operating wind turbines and negative property values.”
The London School of Econmics (LSE) report, entitled “Gone with the wind: valuing the visual impacts of wind turbines through house prices” [PDF], by Professor Stephen Gibbons, shows the “overall finding” of the analysis “is that operational wind farm developments reduce prices in locations where the turbines are visible, relative to where they are not visible, and that the effects are causal.”
It is of no great surprise that there is some data to support the position that wind farms bring down house prices. Enough surveys exist to show that there is a sizable percentage of people who feel that they are an eyesore, and any number of anecdotal stories of effects to wildlife, health, etc.
However, the plain science of numbers has been up in the air for some time now, with competing reports supporting both sides.
Gibbons’ study showed that the effect of smaller wind farms with 10 or less turbines is “concentrated in the first [2 kilometres] where there is a 5% reduction in [house] prices.” Larger wind farms, consisting of 20 and more turbines, reduce house prices “by 12% within [2 kilometres], and reduce [house] prices by small amounts right out to [14 kilometres].”
Assuming a greater number of studies proves the point that wind farms do or don’t effect house prices, at this stage, is premature. There is a great wealth of data on both sides of the equation, and the growth in wind technology and integration is so relatively new that we have a long way to go before we can definitively prove one way or the other — and whether what proof we do ascertain will hold true for more than a few years.
It would appear, for all intents and purposes, that the effect of wind farms on house prices is, as yet, in flux.