Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Building Wind Turbines Where They're Not Wanted Brings Down Property Values

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Building Wind Turbines Where They're Not Wanted Brings Down Property Values

Article excerpt

Building wind turbines where they're not wanted brings down property values

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This article was originally published on The Conversation, an independent and nonprofit source of news, analysis and commentary from academic experts. Disclosure information is available on the original site.

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Author: Richard Vyn, Associate Professor of Agricultural Economics, University of Guelph

The question of whether or not wind turbines have decreased property values in Ontario has been a point of contention in recent years, and fuelled by the rapid expansion of the wind energy industry following the implementation of the Green Energy Act in 2009. (The current provincial government is in the process of repealing the act.)

Residents in communities with existing and proposed wind farms have felt their concerns have been largely ignored by the provincial government, which is able to override municipal decisions regarding where wind farms can be located. Wind farm development was allowed to proceed despite not reaching resolution on this issue. This is due in part to a lack of scientific evidence regarding these impacts.

Studies in other jurisdictions around the world have not provided a clear answer as to whether property values drop when a wind farm is built nearby. Negative impacts on property values have occurred in some jurisdictions including in the Netherlands, but not in others.

To determine whether property values have changed as a result of wind turbines in Ontario, I conducted a study using sales of rural residential properties. In particular, the study focused on counties in southern Ontario where wind farms have been constructed.

Unwilling hosts

This study also addresses underlying reasons for the lack of consensus across related studies in other jurisdictions. There are a number of potential contributing factors, including the possibility that differences in attitudes toward wind energy may influence the likelihood of property value impacts. Areas with greater opposition to wind energy development may be more likely to experience negative impacts on property values. I examined the degree to which differences in attitudes influenced property values in Ontario.

Ontario provides an ideal setting to examine whether differences in attitudes influence property value impacts. To date, 95 municipalities have passed resolutions to declare themselves "unwilling hosts" for wind farms. They did this to protest the provincial government's ability to override municipal decisions on the location of wind energy facilities.

While these declarations are only symbolic, they show that most residents oppose wind energy, since these declarations tend to be made in response to requests for public input and feedback from residents. …

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