Community Impacts of Wind Energy

Neighbors of existing or proposed wind projects may have questions about the turbines or development. Topics of potential concern include sound; shadow flicker; radar, TV, and radio signal interference; and impacts to other uses or industries. Before making decisions regarding whether a wind project installation is appropriate in a given location, it is important to assess these potential impacts. A properly sited wind project can coexist within the community with minimal intrusion.

Siting issues are typically addressed during the planning process, during which the developer uses computerized tools and experience gained from the more than 49,000 wind turbines installed in the United States to evaluate impacts relative to the site and the surrounding community.

The siting process, including detailed community dialogue, should identify measures that may be required to minimize or mitigate any problems identified. Although the potential impacts will vary by project, WINDExchange provides credible information for landowners, community decision-makers, and the interested public about siting topics such as:

Safety

Public safety is always a consideration when siting wind turbines, and catastrophic wind turbine failures are rare.

Sound

Well-sited wind farms leave appropriate distances between the turbine and nearby residences to reduce or eliminate potential sound issues. However, because sound perception is an individual characteristic influenced by many factors, sound impacts should be documented and discussed with those communities.

Property Values

Research shows that if property value impacts from wind energy development exist, they are too small and/or too infrequent to result in any widespread, statistically observable impact.

Shadow Flicker

Proper siting can mitigate shadow flicker, which occurs when wind turbine blades cast shadows that move across the ground and nearby structures.

Signal Interference

Wind turbine manufacturers can mitigate wind turbine interference with communication or radar signals.

Viewshed

Like any energy project, wind projects may alter views that members of the neighboring community are accustomed to.