News roundup: Senator optimistic on PTC, turbines may boost property values, wind helps small towns

31 March 2014 by Peebles Squire Peebles Squire

With the new week comes a trio of great news stories: Sheldon Whitehouse is optimistic about a PTC extension, home values are unaffected – and may actually increase – near turbines, and how wind gives small towns opportunities for development.

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island is optimistic for an extension of the PTC:

  • “I think that there’s highly likely to be an extension,” Whitehouse said at an event hosted by the American Council on Renewable Energy, referring to the production tax credit and the investment tax credit. He added that long-term extensions of the credits are not likely unless they’re part of a large tax reform measure. “There’s very strong bipartisan support for it,” he told industry representatives. “I’m relatively optimistic. It doesn’t mean that you guys shouldn’t be all in to make sure it happens.”
  • Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), chairman of the tax-writing Finance Committee, has said his panel will consider renewing an array of tax breaks that expired last year, and that he supports extending the renewable energy credits. The credits incentivize wind power, biofuels, hydropower and solar power, among other forms of energy.
  • “I think you can be optimistic without holding back on your energetic advocacy,” Whitehouse said.

A new study out of England argues that wind turbines do not negatively affect property values, and, in some cases, may increase home prices:

  • Wind farms have no negative impact on the prices of property within a 5km radius of turbines, and can even push up house prices in some areas, according to an analysis of 82,000 transactions over the past two decades by the Centre for Economics and Business Research.
  • "At last we have a detailed independent analysis into what actually happens to property prices before, during and after wind farms are constructed, over a period of nearly 20 years. This shows that claims that wind farms might have a negative effect on house prices are unfounded," said RenewableUK chief executive Maria McCaffery.
  • It found that the average annual increase in house prices around a 5km radius of the wind farms from the year before construction through to 2013 was 0.8%, compared to 0.5% for the county where the scheme was sited. "There was, in fact, a statistically significant positive impact … prices saw 2% higher annual price growth during the period after construction to the present day."

Payments from wind projects to rural communities can provide ample opportunities for economic development, opening new avenues for progress in small-town America:

  • The wind energy industry has been a big boost to communities across the country, providing a new income source to farmers and ranchers that host projects, reinvigorating small communities by providing new economic opportunities and funding for fire and police departments, schools, infrastructure, and other public services.
  • State renewable energy standards and the national Production Tax Credit (PTC) have been major drivers of wind energy development in the US.
  • 144 members of Congress recently signed letters asking fellow members to support renewal of the PTC. While national lawmakers are acknowledging the benefits of a growing wind energy industry to our economy, some states like Kansas may do away with their renewable energy standards that helped encourage its growth.

Sources:

Timothy Cama, “Dem senator expects renewable credits to be extended.” The Hill. 28 March 2014.

Patrick Collinson, “Property prices unaffected by windfarms, says CEBR.” The Guardian. 28 March 2014.

Center for Rural Affairs, “Wind gives small towns a boost,” People’s World. 28 March 2014.