A new study published in Energy Policy finds that installing wind power in a community leads “to economically meaningful increases in county GDP per-capita, income per-capita, median household income, and median home values.” Debunking a longstanding opposition talking point warning homeowners that wind farms depress value, the study analyzed nearly 3,000 counties and their experiences installing 465 wind turbines between 1995 and 2018. They found that in the counties with wind energy the average per-capita income increase was 5%, home values were boosted 2.6%, and the per-capita GDP increase was 6.5% greater than the growth in counties that didn’t install new turbines.
Rural areas fared particularly well, getting three times the GDP boost that urban areas did for adding wind power. The study used multiple techniques to show a causal relationship, ruling out the possibility that the economic growth is unrelated. “Is it possible that some other driver that occurred simultaneously was the cause of increases in income? Yes,” energy expert Ben Hoen, who was not involved with the study, told Carbon Brief, “but that would be surprising. I am not sure what else could explain this relationship.” (Carbon Brief)