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Journal Article

The visual effect of wind turbines on property values is small and diminishing in space and time


Guo,  Wei
External Organizations;


Wenz,  Leonie
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;

Auffhammer,  Maximilian
External Organizations;

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Guo, W., Wenz, L., Auffhammer, M. (2024): The visual effect of wind turbines on property values is small and diminishing in space and time. - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), 121, 13, e2309372121.

Cite as: https://publications.pik-potsdam.de/pubman/item/item_29587
Renewable power generation is the key to decarbonizing the electricity system. Wind power is the fastest-growing renewable source of electricity in the United States. However, expanding wind capacity often faces local opposition, partly due to a perceived visual disamenity from large wind turbines. Here, we provide a US-wide assessment of the externality costs of wind power generation through the visibility impact on property values. To this end, we create a database on wind turbine visibility, combining information on the site and height of each utility-scale turbine having fed power into the U.S. grid, with a high-resolution elevation map to account for the underlying topography of the landscape. Building on hedonic valuation theory, we statistically estimate the impact of wind turbine visibility on home values, informed by data from the majority of home sales in the United States since 1997. We find that on average, wind turbine visibility negatively affects home values in an economically and statistically significant way in close proximity (5 miles/8 km). However, the effect diminishes over time and in distance and is indistinguishable from zero for larger distances and toward the end of our sample.