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Apples and oranges in new study on property values

A theoretical analysis from researchers at the University of Copenhagen finds that houses neighboring wind turbines to a varying degree will depreciate in value due to noise and visual impact. It is a substantial analysis, however it leaves little to say on the current situation with onshore wind energy development in Denmark, says Danish Wind Industry Association and Danish Wind Turbine Owners' Association in a joint message.

Based on a number of theoretical models and assumptions as well as more than 10.000 house sales from 2000-2011, the analysis shows that loss of property value occurs to a varying degree depending on whether a wind turbine is visible or audible from the analyzed house. For example, the researchers found that a house located 800 meters from the nearest wind turbine will depreciate 7-14% in value.

However, the type of wind turbines installed in Denmark today (125 meters+ in height) make out less than 5% of the data in the analysis.

“It’s a very complicated and highly theoretical analysis which builds on a number of assumptions. The result is a thorough analysis, from which it is very hard to draw any conclusions that that are applicable to the installation and planning of large modern turbines in Denmark today,” says Asbjørn Bjerre, CEO, Danish Wind Turbine Owners' Association. He is followed by Jan Hylleberg, CEO, Danish Wind Industry Association:

“Like most other real estate markets, the Danish market is based on peoples’ willingness to pay extra for a certain house and location. Thus, some people choose not to live close to highways, cellphone towers or wind turbines and the analysis simply finds that certain house prices are affected if a turbine is visible or audible. The same mechanism will apply to a house next to a busy road. However, the findings are based on both new and old turbines which makes it hard to apply the findings”

The analysis is based on distance, noise and visual data from the 24 residential areas in Denmark with most household transactions within 600 meters of wind turbines, regardless of size and age of the wind turbines.

“The regulations on noise and distance have changed a lot over the years and today, there are typically no houses located within 600 meters of a new wind turbine,” says Asbjørn Bjerre.

Assessing loss of value today
As the only country in world, Denmark is already operating with a specific legal provision in the renewables legislation act, which allows neighbors to new wind turbines to seek compensation if a property loses value. The Danish Valuation Authority (Taksationsmyndigheden) assesses loss of value based on personal onsite inspections by a lawyer and a real estate agent and has been in place since 2009. The assessment applies to all neighbors who will potentially be affected by the installation of a new wind turbine. This means that neighbors to a wind turbine have a higher degree of economic protection than neighbors to other types of infrastructure.

“It is important to distinguish between the theoretical and the real-life way of assessing the value of a house and subsequently the potential depreciation of that value,“ says Jan Hylleberg. 

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