Wind turbines won’t affect property prices, claims Element Power

6 Sep 2013

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Tim Cowhig, CEO of Element Power Ireland, pictured with David Gunning, former CEO of Coillte, at the signing of a land lease option between both companies for wind energy exporting

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Wind-turbine developments would appear to be causing a divide amongst people at the minute, with some against new wind farms being built on land around Ireland, but Tim Cowhig, CEO of Element Power Ireland, the renewable energy company behind the Greenwire project in the Midlands, claims wind turbines do not have an impact on property prices.

Cowhig is mainly referring to research that was carried out in the US and in which 50,000 home dwellers in nine different states gave their insights on wind farms and now they perceive them, in relation to aspects such as property prices and the social economy.

This research, which was carried out at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in the US, was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy. Its findings were just published (pdf) in August.

Greenwire’s wind-energy exporting aims from Ireland to the UK

As for Element Power, via the €8bn Greenwire wind energy project, the Irish division of the renewable energy company is aiming to export 3GW of electricity to the UK from Ireland by 2018.

In July of last year, Element Power’s Irish operation was awarded a grid connection by the operator of the UK electricity network, National Grid UK, to export 3GW of electricity to power households there.

Speaking today, Cowhig described this US analysis on wind turbines as an "overwhelming piece of research". The research, which he said was carried out for the US Government, establishes that wind turbines "do not cause property prices to fall", Cowhig said.

According to Cowhig, wind turbines don’t have an impact on property prices. He is of the view that wind turbines have the scope to generate what he termed as "significant" economic and social benefits.

Speaking about how there are currently 1,300 onshore turbines up and running in Ireland, along with more than 225,000 land-based turbines located in 79 countries across the globe, Cowhig, on behalf of Element Power Ireland, believes there is no evidence of any adverse effect on property valuation, which can be directly attributed to an adjacent wind turbine.

He said that people have been living, and working, beside wind farms for more than 30 years.

Turning to the aforementioned US study, Cowhig said that the US developed 13,000 megawatts of wind energy in 2012 alone. He said that the goal there appears to be to continue developing around 2,750 wind turbines each year.

"They have used the most wide-ranging and accurate set of tools," explained Cowhig. He quoted directly from the US analysis from nine states, with the research results having showed "no sizeable statistically significant impact of wind turbines on nearby property values" apparently.

Back to Ireland and the Greenwire project pioneered by Cowhig and the Element Power team, the goal, Cowhig said, is to fit in with current EU policy to develop a Europe-wide electricity grid.

With Europe having committed to reducing carbon emissions, Element Power believes that Ireland’s connectivity will allow it to reduce its dependence on fossil fuel plants.

Interconnectivity, Element Power believes, will allow Irish consumers to benefit from reduced electricity prices on a par with the rest of Europe – in due course.

Carmel was a long-time reporter with Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com