New source of climate warming: Wind farms

posted at 11:21 am on April 30, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Great news for NIMBY activists that want public policy to follow the anthropogenic global-warming agenda but don’t want their vistas cluttered.  The wind farms that they support everywhere else but nearby themselves may be part of the problem, according to Reuters:

Large wind farms might have a warming effect on the local climate, research in the United States showed on Sunday, casting a shadow over the long-term sustainability of wind power. …

Researchers at the State University of New York at Albany analysed the satellite data of areas around large wind farms in Texas, where four of the world’s largest farms are located, over the period 2003 to 2011.

The results, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, showed a warming trend of up to 0.72 degrees Celsius per decade in areas over the farms, compared with nearby regions without the farms.

“We attribute this warming primarily to wind farms,” the study said. The temperature change could be due to the effects of the energy expelled by farms and the movement and turbulence generated by turbine rotors, it said.

“These changes, if spatially large enough, may have noticeable impacts on local to regional weather and climate,” the authors said.

Wind power is already one of the worst options in the renewables market.  Wind is unreliable, and the unreliability of energy production causes numerous problems for distribution.  The manufacture and maintenance of the windmills requires a lot of energy, costs a lot of money, and creates a lot of waste, although perhaps not as much as Solyndra left behind.  The blades kill hundreds of thousands of birds a year already, and any expansion will make that destruction much worse.

Of course, the rise in temperature might be beneficial.  No one has shown that even if a warming period occurs naturally or artificially that the overall impact will be relentlessly negative.  At one time, most of Greenland was used for farming and habitation, a period that lasted a few centuries until global cooling eventually covered most of it in ice.  However, if the wind-farm advocates argue that warming is good for the environment, it negates the stated need to build expensive and inefficient wind farms in the first place.

This research, if confirmed in later studies, will demonstrate the folly of massive public investments for solutions ahead of sufficient testing, even when the problem has been firmly established.  By definition, solutions mean solving the problem, not adding to it.  While wind farms in deserts might make some sense, where birds and farmland won’t get impacted, building wind farms on otherwise arable land for the purpose of reducing the temperature of the climate and improving the natural environment makes no sense at all.


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Comment pages: 1 2

Not to mention all the birds they kill and the loud, irritating noise they make….

albill on April 30, 2012 at 3:10 PM

Know what you mean.

Used to be nice and peaceful around here until they built four of those wind turbines.

Now, just about every day the once silence is broken again and again and again by the dying screams and tweets of those poor innocent birds being swatted by the blades and sent flying in not too graceful trajectories all across the county.

Sad.

:-)

coldwarrior on April 30, 2012 at 3:22 PM

A point to use in a multi-pronged attack on the contrived “consenus” on global warming is that, while post-1990 vintage climate scientists (who had to agree with the Chicken Littles to get into the club) might march in lockstep, meteorologists don’t have 97% agreement with agw, or 87%, or 67%, or 51%, or 36%…

No. Only 24% of meteorologists agree with the AGW theory:

http://sbvor.blogspot.com/2010/01/meterologists-are-rightly-skeptical-on.html

anotherJoe on April 30, 2012 at 3:22 PM

The headline should be:

SURPRISE!!! Windmills declared obsolete for the SECOND TIME in 100 years!!!

landlines on April 30, 2012 at 3:29 PM

Back in the 1970′s it was all about global cooling…even had a few major nations discuss spreading coal dust over parts of the Arctic to slow the expansion of glaciers and ice packs.

Does anyone other then me remember any of those alarmist studies about all of us entering a new ice age?

coldwarrior on April 30, 2012 at 3:31 PM

What about all those solar panels reflecting all that light and heat energy back into the atmosphere?

Christian Conservative on April 30, 2012 at 3:41 PM

trolololo

WeekendAtBernankes on April 30, 2012 at 2:23 PM

I made the mistake of clicking on the link, and actually listening. Now I have an interminable ear-worm. You are evil and must be destroyed. ;-)

totherightofthem on April 30, 2012 at 4:16 PM

When are these militant environmentalists going to learn how to harness the power of unicorn farts and pixie dust?

Decoski on April 30, 2012 at 5:46 PM

Back in the 1970′s it was all about global cooling…even had a few major nations discuss spreading coal dust over parts of the Arctic to slow the expansion of glaciers and ice packs.

Does anyone other then me remember any of those alarmist studies about all of us entering a new ice age?

coldwarrior on April 30, 2012 at 3:31 PM

I remember well. I also remember the heart of the Gorebal “Warming” argument now is the same as the Gorebal “Cooling” argument then – the forced suicide of modern Western civilization.

Steve Eggleston on April 30, 2012 at 6:30 PM

What makes anybody think that these things run cool or even temperature neutral? Has anyone ever done any wind tunnel thermodynamic tests? I’m not an engineer, but I’ve wondered all along how we can assume that we can draw so much energy from the air without affecting the existing climate balance, including weather patterns, cooling of winds.

They’re large machines which generate heat as well as electricity. They turn energy from the wind into electricity. A by-product of any kind of transduction of energy from one form to another is always heat, which can be radiated or carried away by the remaining wind.

Since the wind downwind from the wind mill is slower (less energetic), part of the wind coming into the area is kept there and thus cannot carry away heat the way wind normally would.

flataffect on April 30, 2012 at 7:45 PM

At one time, most of Greenland was used for farming and habitation, a period that lasted a few centuries until global cooling eventually covered most of it in ice.

Well, Ed, it seems that you are making progress – from complete denialist to a healthy skeptic. You now seem to acknowledge that global warming and resultant climate change is, in fact, occurring, and that man is playing a role in the process.

However, irrelevancies such as your quote (above) are clouding your mind on the issue. Nobody I have ever read making that point has ever explained how that is relevant to what is occurring today.

But, keep up the progress. It’s good to see some (some) rationality coming from you on the issue of anthropogenic global warming.

oakland on April 30, 2012 at 8:14 PM

Back in the 1970′s it was all about global cooling
coldwarrior on April 30, 2012 at 3:31 PM

What was “all about global cooling”?

oakland on April 30, 2012 at 8:16 PM

Ed, I think you’ve misread the research. They are talking about local temperatures in the immediate vicinity of the wind farm. All power plants warm the immediate vicinity but the global effect is very small because the area covered is tiny. This is simply converting some of the kinetic energy of wind into thermal energy. The overall net effect on the Earth is close to zero.

I do agree that wind farms are unlikely to be a big part of the energy solution. The sheer number of rare earth metal needed would be prohibitive, if nothing else.

Also

At one time, most of Greenland was used for farming and habitation, a period that lasted a few centuries until global cooling eventually covered most of it in ice.

Only the coasts. And only for a comparatively brief period.

Hal_10000 on April 30, 2012 at 11:43 PM

I sat in at a meeting in CA in 1982 in which Windmill Energy was presented as a great source of energy for the future. I have a degree in Physics: the third thought through my mind was “I wonder what the effect will be downwind when all that wind energy is used up in the windmills.” Wind speed is decreased on giving up energy turning the windmill blades. Slower wind speed means less heat energy carried by the wind… I asked the question, then and many times since, and it was ignored.

dahni on May 1, 2012 at 12:22 PM

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