The wind industry’s rapid expansion in the past few years underscores the industry’s significant potential to create jobs, spur economic activity, reduce water use, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, all while producing clean electricity.
However, many myths of wind energy have been spread, sometimes intentionally, sometimes through hearsay. It is important to cut through the noise and get down to the facts. Here are eight of the most commmon myths about wind energy
Myth #1: Wind projects are not economically feasible without the Production Tax Credit (PTC) or the Investment Tax Credit (ITC).
Fact: Although the PTC and the ITC have been important tools for expanding the wind energy industry, wind projects can utilize a number of economic models and financing opportunities that allow projects to be economically feasible without these two federal incentives. In fact, many wind projects have not qualified for the PTC.
The ITC for wind projects is a relatively new mechanism that was established as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, and so its value as a tool is only now being realized. Although these two mechanisms have aided wind projects with initial financing, developers often utilize other financing models, such as vendor financing, construction loans, permanent loans, investors, tax equity, new market tax credits, bonding, utility pre-payment, renewable energy credits, or various other state or local incentives. Some wind projects can also qualify for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Energy for America Program, which can help raise private funds for the planning and construction phases of the project.
Myth #2: Wind projects negatively impact the land values of people living in proximity to them.
Fact: Individuals living in close proximity to wind projects may be concerned about property values. Anecdotal and some documented evidence indicate that in some cases, reductions in property values have occurred. In addition, some studies have observed short-term reductions in home prices corresponding to the period following a project’s public announcement but prior to the plant beginning operations.
However, these declines were not observed after operations began, suggesting that they may have resulted from buyer apprehension during project development and construction. The most comprehensive study of those listed examined nearly 7,500 U.S. residential transactions for homes located within 5 miles of wind turbine installations, 1,900 of which were within 1 mile and 125 of which occurred after the wind facilities were operational. This study concluded that there was no statistical evidence of an impact on home prices from either views of or proximity to wind facilities.
Research published to date demonstrates that wind facility impacts are either too small or too infrequent to result in broad-based impacts to property values.