Chalk up a win for wind energy proponents.
In the heated debate over whether industrial wind farms damage property values, the latest Ontario study concludes the giant turbines have “no statistically significant impact” on the sale prices of residential properties.
The study by the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC), the government-appointed body that administers the province’s property assessment system, contradicts other studies that found the turbines knocked as much as 35% off the value of surrounding homes.
In reaching their conclusion, MPAC used 2012 as a base year and examined 15 market areas with industrial wind turbines, including Elgin, Middlesex, Oxford, Huron, Perth and Lambton counties and Chatham-Kent.
To back their study, MPAC asked an outside expert to review their conclusions.
The analysis by Robert J. Gloudemans, a property tax and assessment consultant from Phoenix, Ariz., found the presence of wind turbines had a minor impact on property values with properties within one kilometre of a wind turbine tending to be about 4% lower.
Backers of the wind energy sector call the MPAC study sound while opponents argue it is a flawed work by bureaucrats trying to please their political masters.
“Hopefully, others can accept the findings as legitimate,” said Brandy Giannetta, Ontario director of the Canadian Wind Energy Association.
Giannetta said the findings were consistent with other international studies that also found turbines have little impact on property values.
“What is most important about this study is that it is statistically significant,” she said.
Jane Wilson, president of Wind Concerns Ontario, the provincial group fighting wind farms, said MPAC was faced with numerous requests from people for re-evaluation of their properties because of wind turbines.
“I think their intent was to put a chill on some of these actions,” Wilson said.
She also challenged the study’s conclusion, pointing to an appendix in the study that indicates properties more than five kilometres from a wind turbine are about $50,000 more valuable than properties within one kilometre of a wind turbine.
“It’s like the people who wrote part one didn’t read what the people who wrote part two said,” she said.
The MPAC study took particular aim at an earlier study by Ben Lansink, a London-based real estate appraiser who found wind turbines drove down residential property values by 30 to 35%.
MPAC questions Lansink’s methodology and suggests there may have been some bias in the selection of properties by Lansink.
Lansink on Tuesday said he had reviewed the MPAC report and found no evidence to support their conclusions.
His own report showing a drop in values was based on actual sales, not a mathematical formula, he said.
“It’s not an opinion of mine, it’s just based on fact. What they have done is provided an opinion. In my study I simply reported facts.”
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- Administers the provincewide assessment system used by municipalities for setting individual property taxes
- The corporation is run by a 15-member board of directors with all members appointed by the minister of Finance