U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Wind Program

Research at DOE's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Finds No Widespread Impact of Wind Power Projects on Surrounding Residential Property Values

December 2, 2009

On December 2nd, DOE's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory released a technical analysis of wind energy facilities' impacts on the property values of nearby residences. The research, funded by DOE's Wind and Hydropower Technologies Program, is the most comprehensive and data-rich analysis on the subject to date. Using a combination of different analytic approaches, the investigation finds no evidence that prices of homes surrounding wind facilities are consistently, measurably, and significantly affected by either the view of wind facilities or the distance of the home to those facilities. Though the analysis cannot dismiss the possibility that individual homes or small numbers of homes have been or could be negatively impacted, it finds that if these impacts do exist, their frequency is too small to result in any widespread, statistically observable impact.

The team of researchers collected data on almost 7,500 sales of single-family homes situated within 10 miles—with the closest home within 800 feet—of 24 existing wind energy facilities in nine different states. The transactions occurred between 1996 and 2007, spanning the period prior to the announcement of each wind energy facility to well after its construction and full-scale operation. Researchers visited each home to determine the degree to which the wind energy facility was likely visible at the time of home sale and to collect other essential data from the field. The conclusions of the study were drawn from eight different hedonic pricing models, as well as repeat sales and sales volume models. A hedonic model is a statistical analysis method used to estimate the impact of house characteristics on sales prices. The various analyses were strongly consistent in that none of the models uncovered conclusive evidence of the existence of any widespread property value effects that might be present in communities surrounding wind energy facilities.

Over 30,000 megawatts of wind capacity is installed across the United States and an increasing number of communities are considering new wind power development. Given this progress, there is an urgent need to empirically investigate common community concerns and thereby provide stakeholders involved in the siting process a common base of knowledge. DOE's Wind and Hydropower Technologies Program addresses these needs by funding research and disseminating information through its education and outreach initiative, Wind Powering America. While other studies have found negative property value impacts near landfills, high voltage transmission lines, and other types of electric generation facilities, the Berkeley Lab analysis did not detect any evidence of widespread property value impacts from existing wind energy facilities in the United States.

For more information on the DOE's Wind and Hydropower Technologies Program, see the Wind and Hydropower Technologies Program Web site. The full report, "The Impact of Wind Power Projects on Residential Property Values in the United States: A Multi-Site Hedonic Analysis," is available on the Environmental Impacts and Siting of Wind Projects page.