Now You Know… New Research Shows Wind Farms Cause Global Warming

Not only do wind farms kill off high-profile bird species like golden and bald eagles and California condors, the farms also cause global warming.

(Pocosin)

After hundreds of millions in blown taxpayer money and thousands of dead birds the latest research shows that wind farms cause warming.
Reuters reported, via Free Republic:

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…

…The world’s wind farms last year had the capacity to produce 238 gigawatt of electricity at any one time. That was a 21 percent rise on 2010 and capacity is expected to reach nearly 500 gigawatt by the end of 2016 as more, and bigger, farms spring up, according to the Global Wind Energy Council.

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.

But the Democrats will continue to dump billions into the costly energy source anyway. It makes them feel good.

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  • Erik

    But the Democrats will continue to dump billions into the costly energy source anyway. It makes them feel good.

    Only as long as it’s inefficient and expensive.
    If someone came up with a way to make wind energy efficient enough to compete with nuclear, coal or oil, they would come up with anything they could to ban it. Same with solar and algae, it’s only interesting to them as long as it cost a lot and wont actually produce much.

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  • Mark1957

    That is too funny, I guess we will have to attach air conditioners to each windmill in order to cool things down. Or maybe Obama will have to act more “Cool” …… hahahahahahahahaaha

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  • http://hardnox-in-virginia.blogspot.com/ Hardnox

    The report neglected to mention that the turbines catch fire thus producing the extra heat. :)

  • crackermike

    What’s the big problem? I’m sure all those Eagles and Condors are just lowly conservative raptors. The liberal raptors are way to “smart” to fly into the blades. You know, “smart birds”.

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  • Greg

    Weird science at work…Wind turbines by design are energy extractors and following simply laws of physics the ambient temp should go down instead of up. The authors at Albany college do not have to take physics 101 apparently, and not encouraged to examine data that is irrational

  • http://twitter.com/theheartlander Kathy from Kansas

    Jim, you absolutely nailed the lefties with that last line, “because it makes them feel good.” It’s all about the ego massage, and any powers of objective judgment they might have had disappear in the presence of that powerful, addictive emotional hook. (Sad but true. And I’m speaking as a former lefty myself.)

  • lemonaide

    #8 – No device is 100% efficient. There is waste heat energy generated in the conversion process.

  • HisDivineShadow

    @Greg – Wind mills do not extract energy, they convert it. That process is not 100% efficient and produces heat. Maybe you should review physics 101 yourself.

  • waicool

    bird choppers

  • Dennis Frentzel

    It’s called entropy and it’s not surprsing. The story smells like a red herring. The real issue is how it compares to the heat generated (either directly or indirectly) by other technology? And many other factors.

  • http://ergonom3.wordpress.com/ Michael J Kubat

    “…The world’s wind farms last year had the capacity to produce 238 gigawatt of electricity at any one time. …”

    Clever waffling on the part of the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC).

    Query: Did the GWECcies bother to measure and report actual production as opposed to theoretical capacity? Did they reliably quantify the steadiness of production without the need for backup from other sources? Those would seem to me to be THE important parts of any report on wind power.

    Anything else is just, well, breaking wind.

  • chuck in st paul

    #11 April 30, 2012 at 8:17 am – HisDivineShadow

    Temperature rise is credible. This is a thermodynamics problem, not essentially a physics problem. As you say, slowing the air mass converts energy. Some goes into spinning the blades, the rest goes into heat (usually). I don’t know that there’s enough to cause this effect, but if someone less lazy than me would do the calculations, you could see what the heat release would amount to.

    Because the blades deflect the air mass that strikes them, the mass will then collide with adjacent air in the stream. One would have to calculate the effects of that as well. As someone stated, that creates turbulence (or at least additional turbulence) and that usually upchucks some energy in the form of heat by converting linear momentum into collisions.

  • Erik

    A bit OT, there was a tv program about a couple in the UK that built a new home, and spent lots of money on it. One thing they really wanted was to make it “sustainable”, and one of the key features of the house was a new “innovative” wind turbine, that had “a gear system that produces more energy for the same amount of wind”.
    My BS alarm went off right away, and sure enough, at the end of the episode when the show went back to see the result a few months later they had taken it off line, since it turned out the gear system actually used more energy than the turbine produced. They actually had to pay for electricity to keep the turbine running.

    It’s amazing how people can fall for “free energy” promises over and over again.

  • Metalhead

    UN employees seen placing temperature monitoring devices around wind farms…

  • Valerie

    Seventy-two hundredths of a degree warming in a decade?

    That number is within the margin of error for an individual temperature reading, and therefore says that the temperature is unchanged.

    Once again, observational “scientists” are trying to get meaning out of experimental noise.

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  • Sasja

    Our local electric company had a short-run promo advising its customers to sign up for wind power. I never understood how they were going to direct this wind power to individual homes, but what do I know. What they didn’t tell you in the promo, but you could learn from their website, it was going to cost you more as a customer. Don’t know if there were any idiots who signed up for this blatant attempt at skullduggery.

  • Patriot Act

    I’ve been saying for a long time that wind farms might have an effect on the local climate. Since they operate by converting the kinetic energy of the wind into electrical energy, they necessarily slow the wind down. Exactly how much of an effect this has, I don’t claim to know, but it must have some effect, either on heat dissipation, cloud formation, maybe even soil erosion. (Think about how farmers used to plant rows of trees around their fields as windbreaks). Just as mountains and other geographical features mediate where and how much rain falls, wind farms also might change precipitation patterns.

    I don’t know the answer, but it illustrates how these environmental boondoggles always go. It’s full speed ahead, with little or no analysis of the long-term consequences and the total cost-benefit picture. (On the other hand, if it’s a proven non-green technology like oil or natural gas extraction, you get endless impact studies, trumped-up claims of negative effects, lawsuits … anything to to impede progress.)

    Environmentalism is truly off-the-tracks, if it was ever on them.

  • Greg

    Out of 5 rebuttals Frentzel got it right by describing the process as entropy reduction as a result of removing electricity from the heat and material balance around the specified boundary of the work process in question. I am glad to see the large number of tech proficient reviewers here.

  • robotech master

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/04/30/supreme-irony-wind-farms-can-cause-atmosphereic-warming-finds-a-new-study/#more-62319

    Seems its much simpler… its just air movement.

    “Usually at night the air closer to the ground becomes colder when the sun goes down and the earth cools. But on huge wind farms the motion of the turbines mixes the air higher in the atmosphere that is warmer, pushing up the overall temperature.”

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  • Robert

    Not to mention the necessary online generators that must be maintained (and running) to supply power when the wind does not cooperate.

  • Bill

    Y’know, it’s not going to help us much to sort this stuff out if conclusions are successively made more alarmist, crossing the line into inventing entirely specious science.

    Source research says: “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.”

    And then it says “could be due to the effects of the energy expelled by farms and the movement and turbulence generated by turbine rotors.” Seems likely. Accept it as a reasonable hypothesis. After all, mechanical activity of any sort creates waste heat, as does transformation of energy from one form to another – there are always losses and they take the form of heat. So ANY form of generation creates waste heat. And mixing the air will mix the thermal column, so it’s to be expected temperatures would be different above a wind farm even without waste heat.

    All reasonable – it would in fact be surprising if a massive wind farm had no effect on air temperature measured over the farm. It would be interesting to test to find out whether the mixing contributed more, or the waste heat from mechanical activity generated more, of the difference. But we don’t know.

    So: How do we get from that mildly interesting set of facts and suppositions to global warming?

    We don’t. Unless of course we’re bloggers; then we can make stuff up.

    Which Hoft does. His top line: “Not only do wind farms kill off high-profile bird species like golden and bald eagles and California condors, the farms also cause global warming.”

    Where does he get this? Out of thin air. The Reuters article makes no claim of global warming. The researchers don’t even discuss it, let alone hypothesize it. So this is just Hoft’s snarky exaggeration.

    But at least Hoft doesn’t attribute his snark to the researchers – he’s just having a conversation with his buddies over a beer, more or less.

    This doesn’t bother the headline writer, who writes: “Now You Know… New Research Shows Wind Farms Cause Global Warming.” This, of course, is the line that will appear in a Google search. And it’s a lie; NO research has shown any such thing.

    How is this useful? How isn’t it actually malicious? Don’t we have enough trouble without making demonstrably false stuff up?

    he
    Headline writer summarizes Hoft’s

  • Steve H

    So let’s see, if you compare a wind farm to open fields(?) and see that the area around the wind farm has slightly higher temps, from the headline and such that means generating electricity from wind is making the world warmer? Is that what this article is saying? If so does that mean we shouldn’t ANY way of making electricity that makes the world warmer than an open field? Is that the ‘logic’? ‘Cuz if so, we all better get used to turning in when the sun goes down and walking and eating raw food and, and, and.

    Please folks, don’t crud up the ‘debate’ with this kind of childish non-sense. If you have real reasons for opposing wind farms or some other alternative energy source, let’s talk, but this article is infantile.

    (Or if you’re just posting it as a way of teasing/joking around, say so–some folks seem to be taking it seriously.)

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  • Bob Berkovitz

    The warming caused by wind machines takes place at night over a relataively small area that the wind machines cover. This is an obvious statement. What any wind machines would do is to mix the warmer air aloft down to the cooler surface, preventing the air temperature above the ground from getting as cool during the night. Citrus and other growers use wind machines often to prevent critical freezing temperatures from killing their crops by mixing warmer air aloft down to the surface. This has very little to do with climate change that is taking place over a wide scale across our planet. As the science clearly shows, most of the global warming taking place is due to the release of more and more fossil fuels, i.e. CO2. We know as a fact that CO2, a greenhouse gas, has increased significantly in the past century.

  • Mike Barnard

    The original research paper was based on 9 years of data, yet a warming trend per decade was identified. The research found highly localized slight ground warming, yet the researcher hypothesized without doing any math that it might cause local or even regional impacts.

    Well, if you do the math, you realize that in order to effect very mild regional weather (not climate) impacts, you’d have to replace every fossil fuel plant within a 1000 kilometres with wind power. And that this would have a very strong net positive effect on global warming, on pollution and reductions of waste heat being dumped into the atmosphere and water bodies by fossil fuel plants.

    All in all, a nothing story, oversold by the original researcher (who has since backed well away from his intemperate statements), overhyped by news outlets that couldn’t resist the headline.
    http://www.quora.com/Wind-Power/How-significant-is-the-recent-study-showing-ground-warming-at-night-under-wind-turbines/answer/Mike-Barnard

  • Ted

    Well – the facts seem to have shut down the blowhards [SIC] on ~this~ thread. I’m sure they’ll show up someplace else unfortunately.

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