Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy in Environmental and Natural Resources Economics
Environmental & Natural Resource Economics
In Chapter 1, I evaluate the impact of offshore wind turbines on housing prices using the Block Island Wind Farm (BIWF) as an example. Using properties from the mainland, I estimate difference-in-differences hedonic valuation models with treatment defined by views of BIWF. Across many specifications and samples, I find no evidence of negative impacts to property values. Coefficient estimates are both negative and positive, but none are statistically distinguishable from zero. I additionally estimate hedonic models using properties on Block Island, which is only 4.8 km from the BIWF, meaning the BIWF is more of a visually dominant feature there as compared to the mainland. These models similarly find insignificant effects of views. In sum, my findings suggest that the viewshed impacts of the BIWF were minimal.
In Chapter 2, I update and extend prior studies that examine the impact of onshore wind turbines on property values. My data come from Massachusetts and Rhode Island, two states that are population dense and rapidly transitioning to renewable energy. I use a difference-in-differences identification strategy with treatment defined by proximity. In contrast to prior research in these states, my results suggest that property values decline when wind turbines are built. These negative impacts are mostly confined to properties within 1 km of a turbine. However, I delve deeper into these aggregate results by examining how treatment effects vary for different regions and how treatment effects vary over time. Importantly, I find that the negative impacts found are almost entirely driven by Cape Cod and Nantucket, Massachusetts. I estimate small and typically insignificant effects for other regions of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Further, I estimate dynamic models that allow for heterogeneous treatment effects in time since construction. These results suggest that negative impacts abate over time, though in the case of Cape Cod and Nantucket never go to zero. Possible explanations for my complex findings include contagion from opposition to Cape Wind, preference-based sorting, and acclimatization.
In Chapter 3, I improve methods of assessing viewshed impacts of onshore wind turbines. The preferred viewshed metrics are calculated using LiDAR Digital Surface Model GIS data, which account for trees and buildings, which obstruct distant turbines. I additionally measure views from not only a particular house, but also the surrounding roads. For comparison, I measure views using elevation data of bare earth only, which has been used in other studies. Using data from New England, USA, I use a difference-in-differences identification strategy with treatment defined by the visibility of a wind turbine, while also controlling for proximity-based treatment effects. The results suggest that property values decline when a wind turbine is visible. Previous viewshed methods underestimate the level of disamenity and reduce the significance level.
Dong, Luran, "VALUING THE IMPACT OF WIND TURBINES ON HOUSING PRICES" (2023). Open Access Dissertations. Paper 1553.