Connecticut regulators struck down plans to install the state’s first wind power farm that would produce 3.2 megawatts of power after a group of residents complained that the turbines would bring down property values.

This is a familiar argument for wind power companies — many residents complain that the large wind turbines can be an eyesore and will bring down property taxes. The Connecticut residents complained the noise from the turbines and the flickering sunlight as a result of the turbines blocking out light would end up damaging property values. Connecticut is the latest addition to a group of states that have summarily killed proposed wind power projects due to “not-in-my-backyard” complaints.

In reality, those complaints are more ethereal. A University of California Berkeley study funded by the U.S. Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy showed property values were, at worst, unaffected when wind power farms were installed near each home. While there was a chance that individual homes would be impacted, home sale prices as a whole were not impacted by the placement of wind turbines in the area.

Instead of facing regulators head on, wind power providers might have to alter their strategy to be able to combat the “NIMBY” argument. That could include making the impact on local property values much more obvious when lobbying local regulators to install wind turbines. The land that wind turbines occupy can also be used for agricultural purposes, such as for crops or grazing land. Wind turbines are also a bit of an iconic image for renewable energy — that’s something that these companies can stress when proposing the plans to local residents.

Most of these local governments still want wind power, which includes the Connecticut Siting Council that just rejected the project. Each new wind farm creates jobs for the area because they are mammoth turbines that require some effort to install and maintain.

BNE Energy, the company that proposed the wind farm, also has another proposal on the table for a wind farm in Connecticut that will be decided on in June.

[Photo: Rural Learning Center]