A family smiling

Do renewable energy projects negatively impact our health?

 

No. People have been safely living and working around wind turbines, solar panels and batteries for decades. Wind and solar energy emit no pollutants and the overall impact of renewable energy on human health is overwhelmingly positive. In fact, studies have shown health-related air quality benefits from wind and solar energy are worth even more than the electricity itself.1

Modern, photovoltaic (PV) solar panels are made of materials typical of those found in electronic equipment and are encased, so as not to pose a concern for the water supply or public health.2

Advanced energy storage utilizes primarily lithium ion batteries, similar to what you would find in your smart phone or laptop computer. Energy storage systems have zero direct air and water impacts and a small footprint, and they can be deployed rapidly at multiple-megawatt scale.

The weight of scientific evidence, including more than 80 peer-reviewed studies, shows properly sited wind turbines are not related to adverse health effects.3,4 This includes concerns around: audible noise, low frequency noise, infrasound, and shadow flicker.

Studies have found the mere perception of a negative impact, known in the scientific-medical profession as the “nocebo” effect (the opposite of the “placebo” effect) can lead individuals who are subject to misinformation about wind energy to mis-report negative health effects when there actually is no evidence for the health effects.5

Sources:

1 Wiser, Ryan et al. “On the Path to SunShot: The Environmental and Public Health Benefits of Achieving High Penetrations of Solar Energy in the United States. ” National Renewable Energy Laboratory 2016.

2 “Health and Safety Impacts of Solar Photovoltaics,” N.C. State University, N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center, May 2017.

3 “Wind turbines and health: a critical review of the scientific literature,” R. McCunney, Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2014.

4 “Health effects and wind turbines: a review of the literature,” L. Knopper and C. Ollson, Environmental Health 2011.

5 “The Link Between Health Complaints and Wind Turbines: Support for the Nocebo Expectations Hypothesis,” F. Chrichton, Frontiers in Public Health, 2014.


Birds on top of NextEra Energy Resources solar panels

Do renewable energy projects impact the environment?

 

Protecting wildlife and sensitive natural habitats is a priority for NextEra Energy Resources. As part of its development process, our company conducts thorough wildlife studies and ensures each site complies with all local, state, and federal environmental regulations.

Utilities across the country are increasingly selecting energy storage and renewable resources as a cost-effective and environmentally sustainable alternative to traditional sources of power generation.

No form of energy is free from environmental impacts; however, wind and solar energy have among the lowest impacts as they emit no air or water pollution.

When properly sited, wind turbines pose less danger to birds than other common structures such as buildings or roads.1


View of a red barn

What impact will a renewable energy project have on my property value?

 

Despite what you may have heard, multiple studies have concluded that renewable energy projects pose no significant long-term impact to property values.

A 2018 study by Cohn and Resnick, a Chicago-based firm that specializes in property valuation, looked at home sales in proximity to six solar farms in Illinois, Indiana and Minnesota. It found no measurable impact on property values adjacent to solar farms.

As another example, a study of more than 50,000 home sales among 27 counties in nine states found no statistical evidence that home prices near wind farms were affected by the wind farm.1 Another study conducted in Chatham-Kent, Ontario, found there was no statistically relevant relationship between the presence of a wind project and negative effects on property values.2

Importantly, renewable energy projects brings numerous economic benefits to a community, including job creation and the potential for millions of dollars in additional tax revenue (or payments in lieu of taxes) which can be used to enhance schools, roads and essential services – enhancing both the quality of life and overall value of the community. Renewable energy projects can deliver these economic benefits without making additional demands or impact on community services.

Sources:

Wind Farm Proximity and Property Values: A Pooled Hedonistic Regression Analysis of Property Values in Central Illinois.  Jennifer L. Hinman, (May 2010).

2 A Spatial Hedonic Analysis of the Effects of Wind Energy Facilities on Surrounding Property Values in the United States.  Hoen, B., Brown, J., Jackson, T., Wiser, R., Thayer, M. and Cappers, P. (2013). Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA. 151 pages.

3 County Assessor Reports Spike in Home and Property Values Near Calhan Wind Farm, 02/18/2016, The Gazette [Colorado], Ryan Maye Handy.

Additional Research:

The Impact of Wind Power Projects on Residential Property Values in the United States: A Multi-Site Hedonic Analysis.  Hoen, B., Wiser, R., Cappers, P., Thayer, M. and Sethi, G. (2009). Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA. December, 2009.  146 pages. LBNL-2829E.


The inside of a wind turbine

What happens at the end of a renewable energy project’s useful life?

 

The Skeleton Creek Project is designed to operate for at least 30 years, during which time it will be carefully managed and maintained. We often replace aging wind turbines or solar panels with newer, more efficient technology to extend their useful lives another 25 to 30 years. Energy storage systems, when properly managed and depending on the use case, can last 15-20 years or longer, and can be replenished over time.

Decommissioning is the process of removing all elements of a renewable energy project and returning the land to its original condition.

In most communities we provide a financial security, consistent with our contractual commitment to landowners, that guarantees we will cover the full cost of decommissioning and ensures taxpayers aren't left with any financial burden.

This process includes removing and disposing of all above-ground infrastructure including wind turbines, solar arrays, inverters, concrete foundations and pads, and fences.