Alleged Issues with Windpower

Relationship Between Wind and Residential Property Values in MA

No Evidence of Residential Property Impacts Near Wind Turbines According to Third Berkeley Lab Study

 

Massachusetts-focused study finds other factors, such as proximity to highways, beaches have price impact

 

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) along with University of Connecticut analyzed more than 122,000 home sales near 26 wind facilities (with over 1,500 within a mile of operating turbines) in densely populated Massachusetts, yet was unable to uncover any impacts to nearby home property values.

“This is the third of three major studies we have conducted on this topic [the first was published in 2009, and the second last August], and in all studies [using three different datasets] we find no statistical evidence that operating wind turbines have had any measureable impact on home sales prices,” says Ben Hoen, the co-author of the new report.

 

Hoen is a researcher in the Environmental Energy Technologies Division of Berkeley Lab.

 

One of the unique contributions of this most recent study is that impacts from turbines as well as a suite of other environmental amenities and disamenities were investigated.  The study found strong evidence that highways, major roads, electricity transmission lines, open space and beaches impact property values, but no similar evidence was uncovered for turbines.

 

“When we find our model so accurately predicts impacts from other amenities and disamenities, we are considerably more confident of our findings for turbines”, says lead author Carol Atkinson-Palombo, Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography of the University of Connecticut.

 

The full study report is available here.

Two Recent (2013) Studies Confirm Wind's Negligible Impact on Eagles and Prairie Chickens

A 7-year study of the impact of wind development on Greater Prairie Chickens came out in May, 2013 with the suprising result that wind development has no negative impact on the population of the birds. In fact, it found evidence of positive impact on the suvival of the females. A summary of this study is here, and its official write-up is here.

Highly regarded scientist Paul Kerlinger, who specializes in birds, has written an insightful piece (published Aug. 1, 2013) supporting the relative safety of wind turbines for bald eagles. Writes Kerlinger: "If an eagle is found dead at a wind facility, turbine owners must insist that the federal authorities allow the carcass to be analyzed to determine whether lead poisoning was involved. Eagles having even slightly elevated lead levels can be weakened and fly erratically, causing them to collide with various objects. In the event that the bird has elevated lead levels, the ultimate responsibility for the fatality may not be the turbine. Instead the agency [U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service] that funded and licensed the lead dispersal should accept responsibility." The full article is here, and we recommend it also for the other insights it contains.

Wind and Solar Integration Study for the West from NREL

Near the end of September 2013, the National Renewable Energy Lab published a Western Wind and Solar Integration Study which showed conclusively that wind and solar energy reduces net pollution emissions on a virtually 1 for 1 basis. Anti-clean energy forces have spread the lie for years that because wind and solar are intermittent sources, just as much fossil fuel energy is still needed, thus resulting in no lowering of harmful emissions. NREL's study uses real world data demonstrating, as honest observers have noted, that wind energy directly displaces the output of the most expensive power plants, which are almost always the least efficient fossil-fired power plants.

In addition, the report concludes that boosting renewable production in the West to 25% of energy would save consumers billions of dollars.

An excellent summary of the report's highlights by Michael Goggin is here, and the NREL link is here.