Energy companies would have you believe that industrial wind turbine complexes will bring jobs, tax revenues and even tourism to your community. The truth is far less rosy. While it’s true that the turbines themselves may be a source of tax revenue (though just how much revenue is debatable), their greater financial impact will be felt in their negative effect on property values. Simply put, when property values decline, property tax revenues will decline along with them.
In communities that have allowed utility-scale wind turbines to be built close to residential areas, the effects on property values have been swift and shocking. Independent appraisals (that is, appraisals not ordered by energy companies or the U.S. Department of Energy) have concluded the following:
Property values are negatively impacted for up to a two mile radius from industrial wind turbines.
According to real estate sale data, property values lose from 25 to 40 percent of their pre-turbine value — with some properties experiencing a total loss of marketability.
Here are several detailed reports on utility scale wind turbines and property values:
Ask yourself: If you were going to purchase a farmhouse and a parcel of land, would you select one with turbines on the horizon or one without? If you were looking for a fishing cabin or summer cottage, would you choose to purchase in a community that had 500 foot turbines less than a mile away from your “peaceful” getaway?
One solution is to demand that the energy companies provide a Property Value Guarantee (PVG) to all affected residents of the community. A PVG protects homeowners by agreeing to buy out their property if they choose to move away from the turbines and cannot sell for the pre-project value of their property. Total costs of such a program are generally nominal when compared to the total cost of any industrial turbine project. If it’s true that utility-scale turbine projects will have no measurable impact on individual property values, then energy companies should have no problem whatsoever offering such a guarantee.