Cape Wind Picks Apart “Flawed” Study

Cape Wind Associates, the developers of the proposed 420 MW wind power project off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts are taking aim at a recent study which they say unfairly and unjustly portrays the project’s possible effects on tourism and real estate.

Boston, Massachusetts – October 29, 2003 [] As reported in the Boston Globe recently (link below), the Egan Family Foundation funded a study by the Beacon Hill Institute of Suffolk University on possible impacts on tourism and real estate values from Cape Wind. Two members of the Egan Family Foundation are on the Board of Directors of the organization that formed to oppose the Cape Wind project, the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound. The Alliance is an organization which regional newspapers have documented making incorrect claims about the Cape Wind proposal. Cape Wind said the The Beacon Hill Institute study is flawed and that it makes claims that are not supported by its own survey results. The study also stands in contrast to empirical studies that have been done using actual market data concerning existing wind farms, said the developers. Those studies show that property values and tourism are not negatively impacted and, in many cases, the wind farms have improved the local economy. In contrast, Cape Wind said, businesses have been born, jobs created and tourism increased around wind farms throughout the United States and Europe. The Following are statements from Cape Wind Associates regarding the Beacon Hill Study: Regarding the study’s findings on tourism: 1. We agree with one major finding of the Beacon Hill Institute study of tourists on Cape Cod found that “tourists, on balance, favor the windmills.” This is consistent with other studies of tourist positive attitudes of wind farms around the world. While we are not aware of any wind farm in the world which has harmed local tourism, there are many examples of wind farms on land and offshore which have benefited tourism. 2. The Beacon Hill Institute study finds a very small percentage of tourists who report they would less inclined to visit the Cape if Cape Wind were built – it is very important to note that this percentage is SMALLER than the survey’s overall MARGIN OF ERROR. Therefore, the study’s projections of negative economic impacts from reduced tourist activity are NOT supported by the study’s findings. 3. Since the Beacon Hill Institute study relies on a survey of tourists on Cape Cod, it does not measure potential tourists who would visit Cape Cod to see the offshore wind farm, which would represent an increase in local tourism. Regarding the study’s findings on real estate values 1. The Beacon Hill Institute Study makes projections of loss of real estate values based upon speculation of some homeowners – it is important to note that similar speculation of loss of real estate values was not realized after wind farms were built elsewhere in the US and in Europe, according to comprehensive and empirical studies and news reports and personal accounts. 2. According to the study, notwithstanding the high profile attention on the Cape about the project, an overwhelming majority of Realtors were of the opinion that there has been no adverse effect on real estate values. Additional notes on the subject of wind farms and tourism: – Wind farms around the world have been documented to increase local tourism and we are not aware of a single instance, anywhere, of a wind farm harming local tourism. – A Scottish survey in September, 2002, “Tourist Attitudes toward Wind Farms” measured tourist attitudes about wind farms in scenic areas of Scotland found that most tourists who had seen the wind farms felt positively about having seen them and were more likely to return. The Scottish survey found that a majority of the tourists had visited that region of Scotland for its beautiful views and its sailing and boating. – In Palm Springs, California and in Australia, new companies have been created and have been commercially successful providing tours of wind farms. – Wind farms have been on the cover of visitor’s guides which are designed to attract tourists, of Palm Springs, California and to Madison County, New York. – There have been no reports of drops in tourism in the two most heavily touristed regions of Denmark, both of which have offshore wind farms – Copenhagen and Blavens. Blavens is a popular destination for tourists because of its superb beaches and its waterfront amenities. Despite fears of reduced tourism, local officials in Blavens report that, in anything, there may be increased tourism because of the offshore wind farm of 80 wind turbines. – At a wind farm on the Gaspe Peninsula in Quebec, Canada, tourists crowd the parking lot to see the wind farm and many pay $18 to tour the facility. The restaurant closest to the wind turbine in Hull, Massachusetts, reports a sharp increase in business after the wind turbine was installed two years ago which has been sustained. Additional notes on the subject of wind farms and real estate values: – A US Government funded study released this year tracked 25,000 real estate transactions over three years of homes near some of the largest wind farms in the country and found that views of wind farms had no negative impact on real estate values. Homes with views of wind turbines appreciated in value just as fast, and in many cases faster, than nearby homes which did not have views of the wind farms. – In Denmark, 1,900 complaints where filed to protest one of that nation’s first offshore wind farms at Tunoe Knob which was ultimately built in 1995. Most of these complaints involved concerns about reduced real estate values of oceanfront summer homes. An article in a regional newspaper, Arthus Stiftstidende, in July, 2002 noted that the reporter could not find anyone in the community who was still opposed to the wind farm and that local realtors noted there had been no harm to real estate values. – An article in the Cape Codder, on March 7, 2003 by Doreen Leggett included information about the wind farm off the coast of Copenhagen and noted there were concerns about declines in real estate values in expensive neighborhoods with views of the wind turbines but that there was no decline in real estate values after the project was built. That same article noted that the Queen of Denmark can see those offshore wind turbines from her bedroom window. – A survey of town officials from the three New England towns that have wind turbines found no reports of declined real estate values and no instances of reduced assessed values by the towns. At least one real estate listing in Hull has advertised a view of the wind turbine as a feature of the property.
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