Why pro-wind studies often use a 10 km radius

by Alec Salt, Professor, Department of Otolaryngology, Washington University School of Medicine

Last week I was reading of an Australian study, by a Professore Gary Wittert, which had shown sleeping pill usage for those living near wind turbines was no greater than the general population . The study compared those living within 10 km of turbines with those living more than 10 km away. There have been similar studies with property values using a 5 mile or 10 km radius that showed property values are not affected by wind turbines.  Had you ever thought why they pick a 10 km radius?

Consider this graphic. It shows 1 km bands with the calculated area for each band shown in blue.

Let’s keep it easy and assume that households are evenly distributed and there is one household for every 10 square kilometers.

So, within 2 km (the two innermost bands) of the turbine, the area is 3.1 + 9.4 km2 (=12.5 km2) which would represent 1.2 households.

Now let’s consider the two outermost (9 km and 10 km) bands. The area of these bands is 53.4 + 59.7 km2 (= 113.1 km2) which represents 113 households. So the outermost bands have about TEN TIMES the number of households of those living within 2 km, making sure that the contribution of the inner bands is diluted, swamped, covered up or however else you would describe it.

Or consider if you live within 2 km of a turbine. The outer bands of those living from 2 – 10 km from the turbine adds up to 301.6 km2, which would represent 30.1 households – which is 24 TIMES the number of households within 2 km.

No wonder your voice is being “drowned out”. The bigger the circle, the more “dilution” occurs.

Add this to the list of things where “size matters”, and next time you see a study like this, consider the radius and area that was chosen. The choice of the circle size plays a major role in the result obtained and speaks volumes about the motivation of the author.

Alec Salt

9 thoughts on “Why pro-wind studies often use a 10 km radius

  1. Statistics never lie, but, some people sure can use them to lie.

    Based on current knowledge the first two bands will have most of the people affected, and the third might have a few.

    …so you compare them to the rest — and there you are — no more problems. Ai’nt scince wonderful — you can cure anything if you manipulate the stats carefully.

  2. The very same technique has been used in all the proponent-favored property value studies. Of the 3 major studies that are widely quoted (Sterzinger, Hoen and Canning), only 1 (Hoen) even attempted to look separately at the close-in properties, but couldn’t get enough sales to be statistically significant. He does admit there might be major losses in those properties.

  3. ‘He does admit there might be major losses in those properties.’

    An in your face admission – oh, wonderful! Hooray for him!

    This is not a slip up.
    This demonstrates the McGuinty Green Agenda, along with the OPA, and the NGO’s:
    Picking – ‘winners and losers’

    This man just insulted the community and property owners – because he can.

    McGuinty’s Green cabal pushing a U.N. mandate: to save the planet.
    In simple terms –
    – in order to save the planet some destruction will have to take place.

    How holistic! altogether now – Hummmmm!
    It makes you want to puke!

  4. Hoen also excluded 2 resales up close, with 38% & 80% value declines, and another few dozen that “deviated too far from the mean”. Isn’t it the probability of those value deviations up close that his work is purported by developers to address? “Widespread” impacts or lack thereof are irrelevant to the fact of more proximate (3 miles) impacts.

    ALL of Canning’s analysis methods and numbers come back with negative results, yet he chooses not to believe his own numbers by claiming no statistical significance.

    What is too often overlooked is that zoning standards for a Special Use do NOT require statistical significance…they do require the applicant to demonstrate that no diminution of neighboring property values will result. Same is true of public health and other measures of compatibility.

    The misdirecting of the audience’s attention sure seems to be an important part of the game plan for the wind industry. Dr. Salt clarifies this fact, using the science of math, very succinctly.

    • The present high prices for corn,wheat and soy beans can also support high land prices as no one has to live on land with IWTs but only work the land. Is this factor showing up in farm/land sales and being used to say that IWTs don’t affect property values?

  5. Also, the innermost circle has even fewer homes because that’s where the turbines are and there is usually some setback, however inadequate.

  6. Also, consider that the likelihood of being affected by a wind turbine(s) is inversely proportional from the distance away from it, on either a linear or squared (I suspect) basis. So when this dilution technique is used the impact is cubic or even 4th order. Using a radius 10 times as large therefore dilutes the result by a factor of 1,000 or 10,000.

  7. Union Beach, NJ is fighting hard to prevent The Bayshore Regional Sewerage Authority…or “BS”RA as we like to call them…from erecting a 386′ GE 1.5 MW turbine. They tout Hoen’s Berkeley Labs study and also did one of their own to attempt to demonstrate no impact on property values. Unlike with the example in the article, Union Beach, Hazlet and Keyport have thousands of households within 2 km of the proposed wind turbine site. Plus, claiming no impact on home values in a quiet bayside rural area with no buildings over 35′ defies logic. If this monster gets built, many of these homes will have their properties reassessed and their property taxes lowered. NJ now has a 2% cap per year on property tax increases, so there will be no way for the towns and county to readjust property taxes to make up for the significant shortfall. The BSRA turbine could very well bankrupt our town.

  8. Pingback: Recent Energy And Environmental News – December 1st 2014 | PA Pundits - International

Comments are closed.