Experts are divided on a point crucial to the international issue of wind energy: Do homes near wind turbine developments see a reduction in property value?
Researchers who have tackled the question in recent years have returned with mixed answers. Some say no significant reduction is observable when studying the value of homes within a small radius of a development, but others have turned out reports to the contrary — one finding a 31 percent drop in value.
Results notwithstanding, the issue is a central source of contention between the wind industry and its opponents. John Greer, a leader of local opposition group Clay County Against Wind Farms, uses property value reduction as a key component in his arguments against proposed developments in that county.
Greer told attendees of a presentation he gave last week that it doesn't make fiscal sense for property owners to enter into agreements with the wind power industry. Payments to landowners through lease agreements are negligible, and the towering structures could make property unsalable should residents decide to move, he said.
"What's your land worth then? I guarantee you it's not worth nearly as much," Greer said. "Your land is dead at that point."
Additionally, opponents of wind farms have said, turbines not only drop the value of properties where they've been installed, but they also drop adjacent and nearby properties.
Some researchers agree. In a 2011 study conducted by researchers at Clarkson University in New York, it was found that homes from 1 mile to 3 miles away from turbines were negatively affected by a drop in property values between 15.6 percent and 31 percent.
The study used data on 11,369 property transactions in a nine-year period in New York to conclude "that there remains a need to compensate local homeowners/communities for allowing wind development within their borders."
A report produced in 2014 by a professor at the London School of Economics found that homes in the British countryside saw an 11 percent reduction in value when they were within 1.2 miles of turbines.
"Property prices are going up in places where (turbines) are not visible and down in the places where they are," the study's author told the Daily Mail.
Also in 2014, the Daily Mail published an article in which Canadian researchers at the University of Guelph found no link between the sale prices of farm properties and their proximity to wind energy developments.
The contrary findings — offered by seemingly solid research on both sides — are indicative of the back-and-forth debate.
A study published in 2014 by the University of Rhode Island examined about 48,500 single-family, owner-occupied transactions within a five-mile radius of a wind turbine showed "no statistically significant impacts on house prices, in either the post-public announcement phase or the post-construction phase."
The Rhode Island research focused on wind energy developments in relatively high-population areas, making it distinct from studies that concentrate on rural properties near turbines.
It does not appear as if similar scholarly research has been done on the topic in Texas, which leads the nation in wind energy production. About 11 percent of electricity produced in the state in 2015 came from wind turbines, according to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which operates the state power grid.
North Texas — and specifically Clay County — could be home to two new wind developments in coming years, a possibility that has sparked wide debate there and in nearby Wichita Falls. No construction has begun near the communities of Bluegrove and Byers, though a wind industry developer previously has said about 20 landowners have signed leases to have turbines installed on their properties.
If completed, the developments would span more than 11,000 acres and cost $450 million.