An interesting decision came down this week re wind energy and property values in Ontario. Before getting to the actual contents of it, though, lets see how the thing is being spun. This piece from Farms.com is fairly typical:
An Ontario Superior Court of Justice has determined that landowners living near industrial wind turbine projects do suffer from diminished property values. The court accepts that 22% to 55% loss of property values is occurring today.
It also gets things terribly wrong, misreading the meaning of accepts in the relevant context.
What actually happened is that the wind developer, wpd. Canada Corporation, and the farm that has agreed to host the nascent project--Fairview Wind has not been built or even approved yet--moved a motion that the claims against them by nearby property owners be "dismissed in their entirety". They won, hands down. However, as part of their legal strategy (all these screen shots are easier read if you click on them, by the way):
In other words, wpd. Canada said; "Lets conditionally accept the plaintiff's evidence of diminuation for the purpose of the motion so we can get on to the legal issues that would arise even if they were true." The judge said OK, and found that even if the plaintiffs had suffered the diminuation of value claimed, there was no case:
So the judge handed a win to the wpd. Canada and invited the plaintiffs to come back when if ever the project had been taken further along in the approvals process. At that point their evidence will be tested, challenged, and evaluated. Contrary to the various newspaper stories, this has not happened yet.
Just a final note as to why wpd. Canada chose to go this route. This is speculating, but I imagine challenging the plaintiff's evidence would have involved wading through tons of crap science and eventually hiring expert witnesses to go up against the other side's expert witnesses. Fairview Wind is pretty early along in the approvals process to lay out that kind of money when a cheaper route to victory is available.