Letters to the Editor – Crisfield Times Dec 17, 2014
There have been many letters to the Editor the last few weeks from opponents of wind energy on many different subjects coming from those who have voiced their fundamental opposition to wind power.
These letters have all had one thing in common — they state that many different studies support their point of view but they always neglect to mention the names of these studies. The latest letter, from Harvey Kagen, claimed turbines could result in a 40% loss of property values.
I have looked at many property values studies as I have signed a lease with Pioneer Green and of course, this was a concern to me as a land owner. In my research of peer reviewed, scientific studies, I have not read a study indicating any significant drop in property values. Here are four studies that I recommend people read regarding property values: Atkinson- Palombo, C.; Hoen, B. (2014) Relationship between Wind turbines and Residential Property Values in Massachusetts; Hoen, B.; Brown, J.P.; Jackson, T.; Wiser, R.; Thayer, M.; Cappers, P. (2013) A Spatial Hedonic Analysis of the Effects of Wind Energy Facilities on Surrounding Property Values in the United States which looked at over 50,000 home sales near 67 wind facilities; Hoen, B.; Wiser, R.H.; Cappers, P.; Thayer, M.; Sethi, G. (2009) The Impact of Wind Power Projects on Residential Property Values in the United States, A Multi-Site Hedonic Analysis; but by far my favorite study is Hinman, J.L. (2010) Wind Farm Proximity and Property Values: A Pooled Hedonic Regression Analysis of Property Values in Central Illinois.
This final study listed did actually show a significant decline in property values after the permitting process but before completion. This decline was due to fear mongering. After the turbines became operational, property values not only rebounded, but went to even higher levels than before permitting since people could see and hear the turbines and were happy to purchase home near them.
Regardless of whether one is for or against wind energy, it is critical that scientific information, not emotion, is used to form opinions. Students are taught how to discern “good” and “ bad” information through their use of the internet to research and to always cite their sources. As adults, we should be doing the same.
This letter is in response to Leaseholder Kevin Miller’s letter published in the December 17, 2014 issue of the Crisfield Times. Mr. Miller states that he has not read any research that indicated any significant drop in property values. Mr. Miller even has the temerity to suggest that property values will increase after turbines are constructed and people seeing and hearing the turbines will be “happy to purchase a home near them.” This is the most incredible statement I have ever read.
Had Mr. Miller chosen to attend the Public Forum held at the Princess Anne Civic Center last October 16 he would have had the opportunity to hear my balanced presentation on property value losses and would have been given references to peer reviewed studies that do show loss of property values.
Mr. Miller would have found out that there are two methods of determining the impact of wind turbine farms on property values:
One: Studies by statisticians who take large samples of realty transactions over many regions using multiple data points and mathematical formulas to reach conclusions. The investigators are mathematicians, not real estate appraisers. These are the hedonic studies cited by Mr. Miller.
Two: Studies by Real Estate Appraisers for specific locales. These are area specific studies done by professionals who specialize in valuation of real estate.
At the Forum I discussed the study which the wind companies still heavily rely upon to claim there will be no loss of property values,the 2009 Hoen study:The Impact of Wind Power Projects on Residential Property Values done for the US Department of Energy, a proponent of wind power. The study may be found online at:
Also brought to the attendees’ attention was Hoen’s May 2010 webinar in which he reviewed his research findings and stated on the slide on page 32 of his presentation that in order to mitigate risks to surrounding property owners, a Property Value Guarantee (a guarantee against loss of property value due to turbine construction) should be issued. I argued for the inclusion of such a guarantee in the County Wind Ordinance but the wind turbine proponents on the Planning Board would hear none of this. To review Hoen’s webinar go to:
At the Wind Forum I explained that university researchers in the US and abroad have done statistical analyses that do show property value losses. I would suggest readers review the following research studies:
Values in the Wind: A Hedonic Analysis of Wind Power Facilities, by Heintzelman and Tuttle, March 2013. This was performed at the Clarkson University School of Business studying wind farms in northern New York State. Property value losses of 18% were reported. See this at: http://awsg.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/clarkson-values-in-the-wind.pdf
The Impact of Wind Farms on Property Values: A Geographically Weighted Hedonic Pricing Model by Sunak and Madlener. This was done at the School of Business and Economics at Aachen University in Germany in 2012. Within 1 mile of a wind turbine the property values dropped by 21.5 to 29.7%. This article can be found online by searching the title or can be seen here: http://www2.unine.ch/files/content/sites/irene/files/shared/documents/SSES/Madlener.pdf
Studies done by Professional Real Estate Appraisers were also presented at the Forum: The seminal McCann Appraisal, LLC report of June 8, 2010 that studied property values for Adams County, IL. The report found property value losses of 25 to 40% and even in some instances, a total loss. McCann developed a sample Property Value Guarantee that he suggested implementing.
Studies made by Kurt C. Kielisch for Fond du Lac and Dodge Counties in WI indicating property value losses up to 39% depending on proximity to wind turbines. See: forensic-appraisal.com.
Residents living in proximity to wind farms have been filing loss of property value claims all across the country. As an example, in October 2013 the Georgia, VT Board of Civil Authority recognized a 12% loss of property value for a property within the viewshed of a wind turbine project. The diminution in value was based on noise, shadow flicker and loss of value of the view. A Professional Appraiser’s report was one of the bases for the decision.
Mr. Miller is not an authority in determining whether studies of loss of property value due to wind turbine construction are good or bad. The studies speak for themselves. In the cases of the statistical analyses, critiques by experts would carry weight. The Hoen studies in particular, have come in for severe criticism by statisticians.
There is a realistic probability for loss of property values for both leaseholders and non-leaseholders. Picking and choosing favorable or unfavorable studies will not make the problem go away. If the leaseholders are confident that their neighbors will not suffer losses then they should support requirements for Property Value Guarantees in the County Wind Ordinance.
Harvey A. Kagan, Sc.D., P.E.
Princess Anne MD