You will often see wind developers using the following study on property values. The following is often cut and pasted in AIM’s letter to stakeholders questioning the company on the effect that wind development will have on their property values:
The Renewable Energy Policy Project (REPP) conducted an analytical report on property values in May 2003. Their approach was to compare dwellings that are found within the View Shed of one of 10 Wind Projects in the United States and to measure the results tabulated of these properties to properties found in Comparable Regions. View Shed, Wind Projects and Comparable Regions are defined as:
Properties affected by visual impact of wind farm
Communities within 5 miles around the wind farm
Comparable Region – Regions outside of—but comparable to—the View Shed on the grounds of:
Median Household Income
Ratio of Income to Poverty Level
Number of Housing Units
Median Value of Owner-occupied Housing Units
Wind Farms having an installed capacity of 10MW or more
Using modern technology—built after 1998
When comparing the View Shed properties to the Comparable Region Properties, REPP applied three different approaches every time, thereby subjecting the chosen Wind Projects to all three cases and hence resulting in 30 different analyses. The REPP’s analytical cases were defined as (Case 1) Comparing changes in the View Shed and Comparable Regions sales prices for three years before and after the online date of the Wind Project, (Case 2) Comparing property sales prices in the View Shed before and after the Wind Project goes online and (Case 3) Comparing property sales prices in the View Shed and Comparable Region, but only after the Wind Project came online.
Renewable Energy Policy Project reached the general conclusion that there is no statistical evidence that supports the contention that property values within the View Shed of Wind Projects suffer or perform poorer than in the Comparable Region. In fact, 87% of the time, property values rose more quickly in the View Shed than in the Comparable Region (Case 1). Property values increased faster in the View Shed after the Wind Projects came online (Case 2) and property values increased faster in the View Shed than in the Comparable Region (Case 3).
I’ve gone through this report and right at the beginning and although it’s been 25 years since I’ve taken Bio Statistics, the report states the following “Because this initial study had to rely on a database constructed after the fact, lack of data points and high variation in the data that was gathered meant that the statistical fit was poor for several of the projects analyzed. If the calculated linear relationship does give a good fit, then the results have to be looked at cautiously.
This REPP study has been widely critized. Also a view shed of 5 miles is quite a distance and there is no reference to properties that are within the wind site itself. In other words those that are situated at the 300m, 450m, or 600m, distances so often used by wind developers in their sighting of wind turbines near residents. Another critisism includes the fact that people may rate more favourably wind developments because these are often “ associated with wider environmental concerns such as climate change and feelings of personal responsibility to address such problems”
Sterzinger et al., (2003) (the authors of the REPP report) analyses roughly 24,000 transactions near 11 windfarms in the U.S., and compared average transaction values for houses in a control area outside the viewshed of the windfarm with transactions occurring within the viewshed (a 5-mile radius). The study comes to the conclusion that, “There is no support for the claim that wind development will harm property values.” (p. 9), and even declares, “For the great majority of projects [windfarms] the property values rose more quickly in the viewshed than they did in the comparable community.” (p. 2). Although this study is often quoted, its methods have been criticized (e.g. ECW, 2004) for four reasons. First, the authors attempt to calculate a value for the variable “view of windmills,” without properly controlling for it. There is no attempt to discern which properties within the ten different 5-mile viewsheds can see the windfarm or not. In effect, the study makes the erroneous assumption that all properties in the 5-mile radii can see the windfarm, when many houses’ views in fact are obstructed by geological features, trees, and other houses (RBA, 1998a; Poletti, 2005). It was in fact found that 66% of the homes sampled in the 5 mile radius could NOT see the windfarm at all.
Note REPP (Renewable Energy Policy Project) main “raison d’etre” is to support the advancement of renewable energy technologies through policy research. Their target clients are policy makers, green energy entrepreneurs and environmental advocates. I don’t see rural grubby’s in that list.
I still can’t hear that bell ringing.