Wind energy has paid off for rural areas. Whether it be new employment opportunities, additional revenue for counties, or direct payments to landowners, rural communities have received significant benefits.
However, any kind of new development comes with concerns. One frequent concern voiced by local residents is what effect a wind farm may have on property values. Several studies have examined how wind farms may affect property values.
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory completed a study in 2013 that used data collected from the sale of more than 50,000 homes in 27 counties, in nine different states. These homes were within 10 miles of wind projects, with 1,198 sales within one mile and 331 within half of a mile. This study also used data from before a project; the post-announcement, pre-construction period; and during operation. The study found no evidence of an effect on prices of homes in proximity to wind turbines.
While wind farms appear to have no notable effect on property values, siting remains an important piece of wind energy development. Developers, along with county and community officials, must identify ways to address concerns and mitigate impacts from new development, while allowing landowners to host wind turbines, if they choose to.
A good first step is to identify questions and concerns of local residents, often through public meetings, to discuss potential projects and share information. These meetings can offer an opportunity for county officials to gather input informing decisions about local regulations, and for developers to answer questions and use feedback to make adjustments to projects.
Careful siting and fair, well-informed standards also help ensure other local concerns can be avoided or mitigated. Rural communities can work together, and with developers, to make wind energy projects better, and continue to reap the benefits of new renewable energy.
Established in 1973, the Center for Rural Affairs is a private, non-profit organization working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities through action oriented programs addressing social, economic, and environmental issues.