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Property Values

Have a look at these pictures, then imagine owning one of these houses and having to sell it because you cannot live with the noise, the shadow flicker, the "dirty" electricity and you and your family are experiencing health problems you never had before the turbines went online.  How much of the original pre-wind turbine value could you expect to recover, in any type of real estate market?  Or else, ask yourself, which one of these houses would you buy?  At what price?

All independent studies, by professional, independent, appraisers and realtors agree that a house near an industrial wind turbine facility will take much longer to sell, if it sells at all.  And if it does sell, a loss of up to 40% of its value in a good market is not uncommon for homes up to 2 miles from the industrial wind facility.  In a bad real estate market, the loss of property value may be twice as much.

Can you see the farm buildings?

Wind developers and their proponents like to point to a recent study that says industrial wind facilities do not have any effect on real estate values.  This study was conducted by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, which is funded by the Department of Energy.  It looked at almost 7,500 properties, in 9 states.  The location of the properties ranged from only 800 feet from an industrial wind facility to 10 miles away.

Sounds like a good study, doesn't it?  Let's look closer.
    • The study was funded by the Department of Energy.  Is this really an unbiased study?
    • The staff at the Lawrence Berkeley Lab includes, as per their website, 11 Nobel laureates, 13 National Medal of Science members, and 61 National Academy of Science members.   Are  these very learned scientists experts in real estate values?
    • If you go to their website, you will discover that the lab was founded in 1931 and named for Ernest Orlando Lawrence, "a UC Berkeley physicist who won the 1939 Nobel Prize in physics for his invention of the cyclotron, a circular particle accelerator that opened the door to high-energy physics .... Eighteen of our engineers have been elected to the National Academy of Engineering...".   What does this have to do with expertise in real estate appraisal?
    • The home sales studied took place between 1996 and 2007.  Just in time to avoid the housing bubble!
    • The negative impacts to residents living near an industrial wind facility disappear with distance.  This study includes houses up to 10 miles away from such a facility.  At a distance of 2 miles, the negative health effects are diminished.  How many of the properties in the study were located within one mile of a wind facility, and how many were located 2 to 10 miles away? 

Does this sound as if  the data collected for this study was deliberately chosen to generate a specific desired result?  And who benefits?


The following story appeared in  The Daily Reporter,  Wisconsin. 

This is a concrete example of what happens to property values when a wind farm is built nearby.  The home belonged to the Wirtz family who lived in it for 12 years;  adverse health effects from the operation of wind turbines built by Invenergy near their farm, rendered the house unlivable for the family and for their alpaca breeding herd.  Like others in their situation they chose between their health and their home.   Here is the link to the article:

And here is another link to this story:

Wind farm property sells at sheriff’s sale

Published: May 6, 2010

By Paul Snyder

The attorney representing two Oakfield residents in a case against Chicago-based Invenergy LLC wants the results of a sheriff’s sale this week to convince the state to review the case.

Madison-based attorney Ed Marion on Thursday sent a letter to the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin, requesting it consider new facts in Ann and Jason Wirtz’s case against Invenergy.

The Wirtzes abandoned their home in Brownsville last year after Invenergy’s Forward Energy Wind Center became operational in 2008. The property, appraised at $320,000 in 2007, sold to the Bank of New York Mellon at a sheriff’s sale Tuesday for $106,740.

“I hope it will influence the commission to look favorably, at least, at giving us our day in court,” Marion said.

The Wirtzes want the PSC to force Invenergy to compensate the family for their losses, although no specific amount is named.

Marion said the PSC has not yet made a decision as to whether it will review the case.

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