Monday, April 30, 2012

What's That You Say? Wind Farms Aren't The Answer To All Our Problems?

Apparently not, and they may even contribute to *gasp!* global warming!
New research finds that wind farms actually warm up the surface of the land underneath them during the night, a phenomena that could put a damper on efforts to expand wind energy as a green energy solution.

Researchers used satellite data from 2003 to 2011 to examine surface temperatures across as wide swath of west Texas, which has built four of the world's largest wind farms. The data showed a direct correlation between night-time temperatures increases of 0.72 degrees C (1.3 degrees F) and the placement of the farms. 
Ohmigawd, .72 degrees Celsius?  Our undies are supposed to be in a bunch over much less than that from cow farts and SUV's.


Ellen K said...

Maybe that's why T. Boone Pickens backed off of windfarms in the Texas panhandle even after buying all that right of way through rangeland.

allen (in Michigan) said...

Pickens dropped his scheme when economic conditions kept the necessary subsidies from showing up.

Pickens certainly wasn't going to throw his own money away on these ridiculous gadgets but if the electorate is inclined to throw its money away Pickens is perfectly willing to catch as much of it as he can. When the gravy train slowed down Pickens stepped off with alacrity.

Anonymous said...

I was talking with someone who has a friend whose company maintains the windmills and apparently, they require lots of maintenance. In fact, they require significantly more maintenance in particularly windy areas. He also mentioned that unusually high winds about an hour from my home had caused one arm of a windmill to break off and fly away. (fortunately finally landing in a field, so no real damages or injuries).

allen (in Michigan) said...

In a critique of windmills I read that many of the windmills set up in the Tehachapi Pass are broken and have been abandoned. Not surprising since they were mostly designed to capture subsidies, not wind. When the subsidies ran out the maintenance stopped and the windmills broke soon afterward. Outdoors is a tough environment and while the latest generation of wind turbines will probably last longer every last one of them requires regular maintenance and inspection.

Since the turbines are both distributed across a large area, outside and tall the maintenance is time-consuming and expensive.

I don't know how long the latest generation of wind turbines will last once maintenance and inspection cease but it won't be very long. Then we'll be saddled with what, by then, will be nothing but a nasty eye-sore and it'll be the same people who wanted the windmills put up who want them torn down.