Wind Power Facts

The Truth about Wind Power

Public Health: Recent extensive, independent public health studies have found no link between exposure to sound from wind turbines and health problems.

  • A 2014 study by the Canadian government’s health department involving more than 1238 households located near wind farms looked for evidence of a connection between exposures to wind turbine sound—at multiple distances and sound levels—and found “no evidence” of a link to health problems and “no association” with stress or sleep issues.[1]
  • An independent panel of experts hired by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts similarly concluded that “There is no evidence for a set of health effects, from exposure to wind turbines that could be characterized as a ‘Wind Turbine Syndrome.’ ”[2]

Property Values: Wind farms and healthy real estate markets coexist all across Vermont and the country.

  • Nationwide, independent studies,[3] including those from surrounding New England states[4], have reviewed comprehensive data for sales of homes near (in many cases less than a mile) wind turbines and have concluded that there is no statistical evidence to support the claim that wind farms lower property values.
  • The Vermont experience is consistent with these national studies. Since 1995 there have been four wind farms constructed and operating in Vermont that are located in or next to 8 different Vermont municipalities. In all that time, only three properties near a wind farm in one municipality—Georgia—have had their assessed values reduced and all those came through a tax grievance process.
  • The facts show Georgia officials made a mistake to reduce those assessed values. One of the three homes whose assessed value was lowered about 6.5% through appeal ended up selling for $86,000 more than its assessed value, $61,650.00 more than its pre-appeal assessed value![5] Georgia Realtor Geri Reilly stated “that the wind towers had no affect on that property. In fact, I’ve sold three or four on Georgia Mountain, and I don’t think they’ve had any affect on them.”

Clean Water: Existing Vermont wind farms have demonstrated that we can generate clean energy and protect clean water.

  • Actual water quality monitoring data from a study conducted by the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation at the 17-turbine Sheffield Wind project near Crystal Lake in Barton shows positive construction-phase and post-construction biological monitoring results for streams around the wind project, which consistently ranked in Very Good and Excellent condition. A fifth stream that had been heavily impacted by unusually high runoff from Tropical Storm Irene improved from Fair to condition to Very Good.[1]
  • Dire predictions by anti-wind activists about the impact of runoff from wind projects on nearby streams and downstream waters are not based on scientific studies of actual water quality measurements at wind facilities that were built and are now in operation.

Electricity Rates and Subsidies: Vermont’s retail residential electric rates are the second-lowest in New England and are lower than those in New York; rates have declined even as the state has generated more renewable energy from wind and solar sources.[2]

  • Unlike polluting fossil fuel plants, including the natural gas plants that dominate the regional electrical grid Vermont gets power from, wind farms are able to offer long-term, fixed-priced contracts because they have no fuel costs. This protects Vermont ratepayers from large, often unpredictable price swings on regional markets that result from international and political influences on energy prices in New England.
  • All forms of energy production receive subsidies. Federal subsidies that support the production of clean wind energy are significantly less than those that support energy from polluting fossil fuel plants or nuclear plants.[3] In fact, the Union of Concerned Scientists estimates that, without numerous federal subsidies, the nuclear power industry—which supplies substantial amounts of power to Vermont utilities like Green Mountain Power and Vermont Electric Cooperative —would not be viable.[4]

 

[1] Wind Turbine Noise and Health Study, Health Canada 2014 http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/noise-bruit/turbine-eoliennes/pamphlet-brochure-eng.php

[2] Wind Turbine Health Impact Study: Report of Independent Expert Panel Study 2012 http://www.mass.gov/eea/docs/dep/energy/wind/turbine-impact-study.pdf

[3] Spatial Hedonic Analysis of the Effects of US Wind Energy Facilities on Surrounding Property Values U.S. Department of Energy 2014 http://energy.gov/eere/wind/downloads/spatial-hedonic-analysis-effects-wind-energy-facilities-surrounding-property

[4] Relationship Between Wind Turbines and Residential Property Values in Massachusetts (UConn/Berkeley 2014) https://emp.lbl.gov/sites/all/files/lbnl-6371e_0.pdf

[5] Saint Albans MessengerWind Turbines: Do Property Values Fall?” A1 (Aug. 17, 2015)

[6] Biological Monitoring of the First Wind Project, Sheffield Vermont 2010-2013. VT Dept. of Envtl. Conservation Aquatic Studies Section.

[7] U.S. Energy Information Administration: Electric Power Monthly data http://www.eia.gov/electricity/monthly/epm_table_grapher.cfm?t=epmt_5_6_a

[8] Energy Tax Policy: Historical Perspectives on and Current Status of Energy Tax Expenditures, Congressional Research Service http://www.leahy.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/R41227EnergyLegReport.pdf

[9] Nuclear Power: Still Not Viable Without Subsidies http://www.ucsusa.org/nuclear-power/cost-nuclear-power/nuclear-power-subsidies-report#.VjeWecblvIU