Posted Apr. 5, 2016 at 7:35 a.m.
Tourists want discounts if ‘wind farms’ built near NC coast
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Raleigh, N.C. — NIMBY is actually spelled NIMBV in coastal North Carolina, as in “Not in my beach view.”
Why? The prospect of those 20-story-tall windmills generating power.
Off-shore wind farms might produce electricity with less carbon footprint than other types of power generation, but if those towers are built close to North Carolina beaches, there will be an adverse economic impact. Vacation house renters either won’t come back or will demand big discounts, NCSU reported in a new study on Monday.
Yet many of those surveyed also advocate wind power.
NC State’s Center for Environmental and Resource Economic Policy conducted the study, showing digitally altered photographs that depicted the towers close to shore (5 miles) and farther away (8, 12, 18 miles) to vacation house renters.
The verdict: NIMBV.
“Eighty percent of respondents would either not come back to the same vacation spot if turbines were built offshore, or said they would require such large price discounts to re-rent at the same location as to be unrealistic,” NCSU reported.
The study’s authors called the results “surprising.”
Just as off-shore wind farms have run into stiff resistance off such places as Massachusetts, so too are tourists apparently are ready to protest in their own way – with their money – wind farm efforts in eastern N.C.
“We were somewhat surprised about the strong dislike for viewing turbines from their vacation rental properties, especially given the large majority of respondents said they supported wind energy development,” said Laura Taylor, director of the NCSU center.
“We found good news and bad news. There was a lot of support for wind energy, but no one was willing to pay more to see wind turbines from the beach by their vacation rental property. And if turbines are built close to shore, most people said they would choose a different vacation location where they wouldn’t have to see turbines. However, the good news is that our results also show that if turbines are built further than eight miles from shore, the visual impacts diminish substantially for many survey respondents and it is unlikely the turbines would negatively impact coastal vacation property markets.”
The study found that 65 percent of respondents believe that “offshore wind energy should be encouraged” in N.C. NCSU notes that the coastal winds
Some 20 percent said they would rent a house at the same location without any change in rates if turbines were further than 8 miles off shore.
If they are built 5 miles offshore, these renters would expect a 5 percent discount.
The bottom line?
“The costs to local tourism-based economies will depend on the proximity of the turbines to shore,” the study’s authors wrote in a blog.
“For markets that rely on weekly vacation property rentals during the peak season, these costs could be non-trivial if utility-scale wind farms are placed as close as five miles from shore.
“It is important to understand the tradeoffs and engage with local communities in an open manner early in the process. Hopefully, our study will help shed light on potential options that work for both wind energy developers and coastal communities whose economic vitality depends on tourism.”
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