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Forget DOE study — windmills hurt property's value

The Associated Press is reporting that a new study by researchers at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that wind farms don’t lower property values.

Researchers looked at 7,500 home sales in nine states and concluded that home prices aren’t affected by proximity to the massive turbines.

Homes in the study were located from 800 feet to five miles from wind farms, but only about 1,000 of them had views of the turbines, and according to the AP, some of those views were largely screened by trees or other obstacles.

The report drew immediate criticism, a lot of it from people who currently enjoy a turbine-free view from the front porch and want to keep it that way.

There’s good reason for skepticism. The biggest problem with wind farms is the visual blight. If the study looked at 6.5 homes that aren’t within sight of a windmill for every one that is, no wonder the researchers didn’t find much of an effect.

Regardless, the resale price isn’t the only measure of a property’s value — maybe not even the most important. If your view of Badger Mountain or the Horse Heaven Hills is suddenly altered by a line of giant turbines, the pleasure of a spring day in the back yard is diminished.

There are benefits to wind power, and any region with a steady breeze is likely to see more turbines on the horizon in the years ahead.

But let’s not pretend there isn’t a cost to be paid by the neighbors.