Wind energy is generating clean and affordable electricity for Canadians, providing new jobs, and contributing to local economic development. In most provinces, municipalities with wind energy projects also receive property taxes from wind facilities, which supports local schools, roads and public services. Landowners that host wind turbines also benefit from stable income through land lease agreements.
When wind energy projects are proposed, sometimes people ask whether the presence of wind turbines can have a negative effect on property values. A number of Canadian and international studies have examined this question.
What do the experts say?
The most comprehensive study on wind farms and property values to-date was conducted by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The study analyzed more than 50,000 home sales near 67 wind facilities across nine U.S. states over ten years and found no statistical evidence that operating wind farms have had any measurable impacts on home sale prices.
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of Connecticut also completed the study Relationship between Wind Turbines and Residential Property Values in Massachusetts, which analyzed more than 122,000 Massachusetts home sales between 1998 and 2012, and found no statistically-significant evidence that proximity to a wind turbine affects home values. This was consistent with the results of a study on the Effects of Wind Turbines on Property Values in Rhode Island, which states that there is no statistical evidence for negative property value impacts of wind turbines.
A peer-reviewed study in the Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics examined the potential impacts of wind turbines on property values in Melancthon Township (in southern Ontario) following the construction of a large wind farm. The study of data on 5,414 rural residential sales and 1,590 farmland sales found that wind turbines did not significantly impact nearby property values.
In Ontario, a Municipal Property Assessment Corporation study found that there was no statistically significant impact on sale prices of residential properties in market areas resulting from proximity to a wind turbine. The study underwent a rigorous independent third-party peer review.
Another Ontario study, Effects on Real Estate Values in the Municipality of Chatham-Kent, Ontario, examined 83 properties in Ontario’s Chatham-Kent region and found that in the study area where wind farms were clearly visible, there was no empirical evidence to indicate that rural residential properties realized lower sale prices than similar residential properties within the same area that were outside of the view shed of a wind turbine.
Another notable study published in the Journal of Real Estate Research, investigated approximately 7,500 sales of single-family homes surrounding 24 operating U.S. wind facilities. Across four different hedonic models, and a variety of robustness tests, the results were consistent: neither the view of the wind facilities nor the distance of the home to those facilities were found to have a statistically significant effect on sales prices.
Additionally, a recent study conducted at the University of Delaware and published in the journal Nature Energy found that approximately 90 per cent of individuals who live within 8 km of a wind turbine prefer their local wind project to a centralized power plant sited a similar distance away. They also evaluated the relationship between voting patterns and energy preferences, finding that preferences for wind power are bipartisan.