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Posts Tagged ‘Outreach and Education’

Community wind projects often face opposition on a range of issues. Concerns about potential noise and visual impact, avian (bird) mortality, and impact on residential property values are the most common. While the permitting process includes components that provide stakeholders with more information and prompts mitigation measure development, community wind project teams do best by proactively hearing and responding to their community’s concerns.

Impact on residential property values is one of the most polarizing issues facing community wind projects. While introducing community members to research on property value impacts and other issues is just one aspect of easing their concerns, it can be important to building project support.

One potentially valuable resource is “Wind Energy Facilities and Residential Properties: The Effect of Proximity and View on Sales Prices” –a Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory-authored study on the relationship between wind projects and property values (Journal of Real Estate Research, 2011). This article is based on one of the most comprehensive studies to date on this issue, and it is one of only three peer-reviewed studies on the topic. The study looked at 7,459 homes within 10 miles of 24 wind projects across the country, and field visits were made to each home.

This article may be particularly helpful, as it examines three different (and common) perceived impacts of wind projects, all of which were found to have no statistically significant impact on the sale of homes in the study sample:

  • Scenic vista: A perception that a home may be devalued because of the view of a wind energy facility, and the potential impact of that view on an otherwise scenic vista.
  • Area stigma: A perception that the area surrounding a wind energy facility will appear more developed, which may adversely affect home values in the local community regardless of whether any individual home has a view of the wind turbines.
  • Nuisance Stigma: A perception that factors that may occur in close proximity to wind turbines, such as sound and shadow flicker, will have an adverse influence on home values.

By engaging community members in conversations about their concerns early and often, project teams can better understand prevailing attitudes about the issues and design an appropriate outreach effort tailored to the residents and other stakeholders.  Outreach efforts might include sponsored “fieldtrips” to other wind turbines in the region or inviting representatives from regions with completed wind projects to present. Alternatively, neighborhoods can host coffee nights at a local library or other community gathering point for open discussions. Ideally, such events would be hosted by a neutral third-party wind expert, such as an academic, representative from the state’s energy department, or consultant or developer not attached to the project.

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Cadmus team facilitates a "virtual ribbon cutting" event celebrating the completion of a community owned solar PV project

Cadmus has supported more than 40 municipalities in Massachusetts alone with their renewable energy projects. From this experience, we hope to present communities exploring, procuring, and implementing renewable energy projects with lessons learned, best practices, and available resources.

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