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Measuring the Visual Impact of Wind Turbines in the 1000 Islands Region A Cross-Border Approach
Mentor: Dr. Martin Heintzelman
Department: Environmental Economics

A major challenge in increasing the share of energy produced from renewable sources is the siting of renewable energy facilities, including wind turbines. This project will examine an existing wind farm on Wolfe Island in the St. Lawrence River and establish the visual impact of the turbines on parcels in the region. In turn, we will analyze the effects of this visual impact on property transactions prices. This builds on prior research by Heintzelman and Tuttle (2012) and Vyn (2013) which have examined this issue in Northern New York and Ontario, Canada respectively and found various impacts on property values depending on the context. The REU student on this project would work closely with Dr. Heintzelman to develop a database of parcel transactions on the U.S. side of the Wolfe Island region and link these transactions to separate databases containing information on parcel characteristics as well as, through ArcGIS, to spatial amenities and disamenities in the region. The student would also go on site to parcels within 5 miles of the turbines and qualitatively assess the visual impact of the turbines on the parcel. Finally, a preliminary hedonic analysis would be performed. This project is in partnership with Dr. Richard Vyn from the University of Guelph who will be leading a similar effort on the Canadian side of the border.