Study: Wind farms don't appear to impact a county's aggregate rural home values
- June 12, 2019
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Jun. 13--A study examining the impact on property values where commercial wind farms have gone up in Kansas found no statistically significant changes in aggregate rural home values in a county within the three years of a wind development.
The Hutchinson/Reno County Chamber of Commerce commissioned the study by Wichita State University's Center for Economic Development and Business Research. The chamber released the results of the study on Wednesday, the day before the Reno County Commission is scheduled to vote on whether to grant a conditional use permit to NextEra Energy to build an 83-turbine wind farm in the county.
"We have heard the concerns expressed by citizens in the proposed wind farm area related to the Pretty Prairie Wind Farm CUP, and we wanted to be able to study this issue," stated Debra Teufel, president and CEO of the Hutch Chamber in a news release.
"We believe it is important to consider the facts related to property values," she stated. "We share these findings to put the fears to rest related to diminished property values."
For his analysis, Mike Busch, Senior Research Economist with the CEDBR, looked at values for all rural properties in the 23 counties where wind farms have been built in a given year, for the three years before and after the construction of the wind farm, for the years 2005 through 2015.
He then compared those values to all other counties in Kansas without new wind farms during the years 2002 to 2018.
The data, obtained in aggregate values from the Kansas Department of Revenue, did not include agricultural or commercial values, he said. He also excluded the five "metropolitan core urban counties" of Sedgwick, Johnson, Shawnee, Douglas, and Riley counties from the study.
He used a three-year window on each side of development because it was difficult to tell when, in a given year, a wind farm was completed, and he didn't want to go too far out because other variables could impact prices "and muddle the interpretation," Busch said.
"The regression results returned an estimate that following the wind power projects, the wind project counties' values grew 0.3 percentage points faster than the pre-construction trend, relative to the control group," Busch stated.
In other words, there appeared to be a slight increase in property values in a county where a wind farm went in compared to other counties.
The result, however, Busch said, was not statistically significant enough to draw that conclusion.
"If the level had been double to three times the effect we saw, that would have approached statistical significance," he said. "It was less than half a percentage point a year. When you get down to a value like that, you cannot rule out that it's just as likely wind had a slightly negative effect as slightly positive. It could be random chance how it worked out."
The data also showed rural property values in wind counties grew "modestly more quickly" than non-wind counties in the years before construction of the wind power projects. The pre-wind growth was not explained.
The study did not exam changes in values in homes within a certain distance of a wind farm, compared to changes in values of other homes in the same county.
He considered attempting to look at that question, Busch said, but the data was not readily available, and other previous studies in other states found no statistical difference "at the individual home level."
"This model provides an estimate of effects of wind power project construction on the growth rate of rural property values, but this estimate does not provide a causal link for how wind power projects affect property values," the study summary concluded.
The complete study can be found at http://hutch.news/WindValues.
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