Impact on Economy and New York
This letter was sent to the Steuben County (NY) IDA in response to UPC Wind's decision to hire outside contractors and construction workers to erect the Cohocton Wind facility.
Because time seems to be running out on fossil fuels and the lure of
non-polluting windpower is so seductive, some people are now promoting windpower
initiatives at any cost, without investigating potential negative consequences-- and with
no apparent knowledge of even recent environmental history......Throughout my experience, I could not substantiate a single claim developers made for
industrial wind energy, including the one justifying its existence: that massive wind
installations would meaningfully reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. When you
understand this, you realize the wind business is not really that complex. But there are a
lot of complicated issues swirling around it that obscure and distract from this main point,
issues such as global warming, property values, the nature of wind leases, local revenues
and taxes, wildlife, natural views, and a host of others. So how does one know the truth of
it all? How does one go about separating the reality from spin?
Project Report Submitted to the Faculty of the
Bard Center for Environmental Policy..in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Science in Environmental Policy
There are two recurring themes in this study: (1) the results are applicable only to Fenner and (2) much more research is needed.
What is clearly missing is a ‘sense of place’, a variable acknowledged by the author as important but left unaddressed. What we’re told is that Fenner is a ‘rural farming community’. We have no sense of what drives residents/prospective residents to live in (or, for that matter, to leave) Fenner. We have no sense of ‘public attitudes’, another variable the author clearly ties to property values but leaves unaddressed. What is noticeably missing are house sales within 0.75 miles of the wind plant, i.e. those that would presumably be most impacted by noise and shadow flicker.
In the absence of more authoritative studies, we know from press reports associated with wind plants and wind plant applications that ‘opposition’ appears to be lowest in ‘farming’ communities in which farmers view the turbines as a ‘cash crop’ and local municipalities covet the related taxes. We also know from these sources that opposition is greatest in communities that have something to ‘protect’, i.e. treasured/scenic natural assets (ridgelines, shorelines, unique/sensitive habitats), tourist/second home based economies and/or wildlife. Where these are issues, it is hardly a ‘leap of faith’ to surmise that property values will fare comparatively worse than in communities where these issues don’t exist and that properties specifically impacted by the turbines (view/noise/shadow flicker, etc) will fare the worst. As the author readily concedes, ‘public attitudes’ is an important determinant of property values and the opposition within these communities often reflects the prevailing public attitude towards wind turbines. After all, LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION is what real estate is all about.
Lastly, Hoen offers a useful critique (available below) of the REPP report that is often pointed to by wind turbine developers as evidence that wind plants do not adversely affect property values.
This Final Generic Environmental Impact Statement (FGEIS) has been prepared for the
Ecogen, LLC (Ecogen) Prattsburgh/Italy Wind Farm Project (Project) on the behalf of the Lead
Agency, the Steuben County Industrial Development Agency (SCIDA). The FGEIS is prepared
pursuant to the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQR), Environmental
Conservation Law, Article 8, 6NYCRR Part 617, and its implementing regulations.
On August 20, New York Governor Pataki announced that the state would give $17 million to four private companies to develop five more “wind farms” in various parts of New York, adding to the 3 existing “wind farms.” The proposed “wind farms” raise questions that will need to be considered by New York’s electric customers, taxpayers, and citizens concerned about impairment of property and scenic values and other environmental concerns.
This property value assurance plan was offerred by Canastota Wind Power LLC to certain landowners in the immediate vicinity of the Fenner Wind Farm.
Editor's Note: As the quality of the attached pdf file is poor, herewith a 'best efforts' re-typing of it.