If you are like the majority of people, the biggest investment you will ever make is the house you live in. It’s a big step, there are so many things to consider, the location, the community and the schools are just a few, and, while nothing in life is guaranteed, you do your best to choose wisely, making what you hope will be a good, long term financial decision. When a wind developer decides to target your town, as they’ve done here in North East, pay very close attention to the impact a utility scale wind farm can have, especially on property values, because everything you’ve saved, worked for and invested, can be lost, when someone else decides your property value isn’t important to them.
Wind developers have studies, but whose study is it?
Wind developers are quick to respond to this concern, they say they have studies that prove there’s no effect on property value, but they always point to the same study, this one. It’s a 2009 report commissioned and paid for by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (Wind & Hydropower Technologies Program) of the U.S. Department of Energy. The same department of the US government that wants wind turbines everywhere, paid for this study which, not surprisingly, suggests wind turbines will not affect your property value, but even they think it may be all nonsense:
This document was prepared as an account of work sponsored by the United States Government. While this document is believed to contain correct information, neither the United States Government nor any agency thereof, nor The Regents of the University of California, nor any of their employees, makes any warranty, express or implied, or assumes any legal responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information …
At a recent supervisors meeting, Pioneer Green Energy had a handout with their answers to some of our concerns. The very first concern they addressed was diminished property values and their statement in that handout was very clear: “Facts: Wind farms do not reduce property values. See comprehensive 2009 study …” and they included the link to this study.
Wind developers say “Trust us” We say, “Verify”
The problem with studies like the one above when used to back up a wind developer’s claims is it’s filled with charts, graphs and equations far beyond what most people are willing to wade through and if you are the rare person willing to look through more than a few pages, you’ll see what we mean. Wind developers are counting on that, they know the majority of folks will quickly put it down, but, unfortunately for those developers, some of us are more than willing to see if the report makes any sense, and the report seems to have some serious shortcomings.
Michael McCann, a professional property appraiser, has a different view of the study. Rather than getting into the details here on this site, for those interested, we suggest you follow the link and let Mr. McCann explain the problems he found, but one of the primary issues are the properties the 2009 study chose not to include. Very interesting. He’s done a number of appraisals in towns with turbines and the property values simply do not hold up, they fall.
What do homeowners near turbines say?
If we move beyond these studies, that you probably won’t want to dig through anyway, are there any reports from people on the front lines? What is happening now in towns where turbines have been installed? In Fairhaven and Falmouth, Massachusetts, things haven’t been going very well:
After a few months of “watching buyers come by, look at the turbines and drive away,” Downey (a Fairhaven resident) took it off the market and said he is now hoping to find someone to rent it.
Realtor Susan Whitehead said she has been trying to sell a property on Weeden Road for two years. That property was put on the market for reasons unrelated to the turbines, but Whitehead said buyers ask about the machines, which are visible across Little Bay, “100 percent of the time.”
“They ask about the noise, they ask about the flicker, and then they don’t put in an offer,” she said.
Because of this, the asking price of the home has dropped from $389,000 to $244,900, Whitehead said.
Trying to sell a home near wind turbines is something Falmouth real estate agent Margaret Gifford said is not easy. There, residents have been battling to shut the turbines off for the past two years, and Gifford said agents swap stories of houses languishing on the market for years at a time, being passed around from broker to broker.
Wind developers quickly attack these stories as anecdotal, but we can show you hundreds of similar examples, the ones quoted here are just some of the most recent. After a while, you may begin to think, there’s something to them and perhaps the 2009 study the developers like to reference is missing what’s really happening right now and didn’t even truly reflect what was happening then.
Who should you believe?
You need to ask yourself, “who should I believe?”
- You could take the word of a study sponsored by the government agency trying to promote more wind turbine installations and literally paying billions of your tax dollars to “green energy” companies to build them
- You could listen to the wind developers who stand to make many millions of dollars if they can convince you to install wind turbines in your town
On the other hand:
- You could listen to the hundreds and hundreds of homeowners just like you or Realtors just like the many professionals we deal with in North East, who say over and over that turbines are a real problem and make selling your home extremely difficult, even at greatly reduced prices.
If homeowners living with turbines say they constantly drop their asking price and still get no offers, if potential buyers look at the turbines, ask questions and leave, never to return, then it might make sense to be very skeptical of the claims of wind developers.
Where do wind developers live?
Do they relax in their back yard gazing at 500 foot tall wind turbines a thousand feet away, or less? Do they sleep to the sound of turbines? Do they experience shadow flicker? Or do they do as T. Boone Pickens did, promote wind turbines while not wanting them anywhere nearby?
Do you want to let others gamble with your home?
Claims that wind turbines don’t diminish property values are simply contrary to common sense. They can repeat those claims over and over, but it doesn’t make them any less absurd. Of course, that’s our opinion and the opinion of hundreds of homeowners living under the turbines already, but you need to make up your own mind. You know where we stand, but do your own research and see what you think, then place your bets. How much of your property value are you willing to see gambled away?