Whether or not you think they're ugly or sleekly beautiful, or whether they represent the energy future of a miscue, wind farms have no effect on property values, according to an authoritative new study by the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
Property values are only one of the arguments that crops up against proposed wind farms, which produce electricity without pollution, but cause some people headaches -- literally and figuratively. The large turbines can also kill bats and birds if not built and sited carefully.
But most of all, they're big. They stick up on ridgelines and get plunked down in farm fields. If your home is nearby, the view will change. Nowhere has that concern been more publicly expressed -- and ridiculed -- than in Nantucket Sound, where the Cape Wind project might create a barely perceptible blip on the horizon enjoyed by the rich, famous and politically connected. Namely, the Kennedys. (This analysis sheds light on that controversy, though with a caveat: Existing wind farms are all land-based, since no off-shore wind project has been given the go-ahead yet in the U.S.)
But the new three-year Department of Energy report suggests there's nothing much to worry about. It evaluated 10 years' worth of data on 7,500 home sales within 10 miles of 24 existing wind farms in various U.S. states.
"Neither the view of wind energy facilities nor the distance of the home to those facilities was found to have any consistent, measurable, and significant effect on the selling prices of nearby homes," according to report author Ben Hoen, a consultant to Berkeley Lab. "No matter how we looked at the data, the same result kept coming back -- no evidence of widespread impacts."
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