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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