Hot Stuff: Instead of Cooling the Planet, Harvard Studies Find Wind Turbines Raise Local Temperatures by 1.5°C

As the mantra has it, wind turbines are the perfect panacea for rising temperatures. Panic has spread about the planet’s temperature rising a couple of notches (apparently an increase of just 1.5°C means instant disaster and pumping it up by 2°C means an irreversible catastrophe).

Now it seems that these things are playing their part in adjusting temperatures, but not in the manner hoped for or predicted.

Study after study shows local nighttime temperatures rising by as much as 1.5°C, wherever these things are operating.

None of this would come as a surprise to grape and fruit growers who, in chillier climes, use frost fans in their vineyards and orchards to stir up the air at nighttime to prevent frosts ruining their crops.

The climate cult is driven by a (clearly burning) desire to spear millions of these things into everyone else’s backyards (not theirs, of course). So, instead of keeping a lid on global temperatures, their drive to spread wind turbines far and wide will have precisely the opposite result.

Recent studies show flaws of wind power
Newsok
The Oklahoman Editorial Board
25 November 2018

The rap on wind power is that it isn’t practical. New research reinforces this belief, and suggests wind power isn’t as environmentally beneficial as claimed.

The studies, authored by Harvard researchers and published in “Environmental Research Letters” and “Joule,” examined how much land area would be required to meet future U.S. energy demands if energy production increasingly transitions to green power sources. They also examined the environmental impact of wind farms.

The land-area study concluded wind farms will need five to 20 times more land than previously estimated. This is largely because of the “wind shadow” effect. An upwind turbine reduces wind speed downwind, which means turbines must be spaced farther apart to maximize effectiveness. This factor has been ignored in many other studies on wind power feasibility.

Given the resistance of many communities to wind farms, this finding represents a significant logistical barrier to increased wind power use. While people like the idea of wind power, few are eager to have wind farms near their homes. This is true not only in conservative rural Oklahoma, but locations across the nation. Writing at City Journal, Robert Bryce notes that the Republican and Democratic gubernatorial candidates this year in “deep-blue Vermont” favored renewable energy “in principle” but opposed new wind energy development. An effort to put a wind farm offshore near Cape Cod was tied up for years due in part to opposition from local residents who objected to having turbines within sight of their homes. The opponents included former Sen. Ted Kennedy.

If smaller wind power projects draw strong local opposition, then the negative response will be exponentially greater for even larger wind farms.

What of the environmental benefit? The second study found that if you covered one-third of the continental U.S. with enough turbines to meet electricity demand, the wind farms would warm the surface temperature by 0.24 degrees Celsius. The change to nighttime temperatures was even more dramatic – up to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Those temperature changes would be caused by the fact that wind turbines mix ground-level and higher-level atmosphere while also reducing atmospheric motion.

That environmental finding is in keeping with at least 10 other studies. In fact, Harvard researchers concluded that the warming effect caused by wind turbines would be larger than any offsetting environmental benefit from reduced greenhouse gas emissions for the next century.

Study author David Keith, a professor of applied physics at Harvard, said, “The direct climate impacts of wind power are instant, while the benefits of reduced emissions accumulate slowly. If your perspective is the next 10 years, wind power actually has – in some respects – more climate impact than coal or gas. If your perspective is the next thousand years, then wind power has enormously less climatic impact than coal or gas.”

The problem for wind power supporters is that most people put more weight on immediate impact than any hypothetical impact centuries down the road. Until the immediate, negative impact of wind power projects is reduced, the industry will continue to face understandable resistance from many citizens.
Newsok

Who’s going to break it to him?

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.

Comments

  1. nickreality65 says:

    assume/state that the earth’s current 0.3 albedo would remain even if the atmosphere were gone or if the atmosphere were 100 % nitrogen, i.e. at an average 240 W/m^2 OLR and an average S-B temperature of 255 K.

    That is just flat ridiculous.

    Without the atmosphere or with 100% nitrogen there would be no liquid water or water vapor, no vegetation, no clouds, no snow, no ice, no oceans and no longer a 0.3 albedo. The earth would get blasted by the full 394 K, 121 C, 250 F solar wind.

    The sans atmosphere albedo might be similar to the moon’s as listed in NASA’s planetary data lists, a lunarific 0.14, 390 K on the lit side, 100 K on the dark.

    And the naked, barren, zero water w/o atmosphere earth would receive 25% to 40% more kJ/h of solar energy and as a result would be 20 to 30 C hotter not 33 C colder, a direct refutation of the greenhouse effect theory and most certainly NOT a near absolute zero frozen ball of ice.

    Nick S.

    https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6466699347852611584
    https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6457980707988922368
    https://sos.noaa.gov/Education/script_docs/SCRIPTWhat-makes-Earth-habitable.pdf

    With 30 % albedo: 957.6 W/m^2, 360.5 K, 87.5 C, 189.5 F
    With 14% albedo: 1,176.5 W/m^2, 379.5 K, 106.5 C, 223.8 F
    With 0% albedo: 1,367.5 W/m^2, 394.0 K, 121.0 C, 250.0 F

  2. Reblogged this on ajmarciniak and commented:
    As the mantra has it, wind turbines are the perfect panacea for rising temperatures. Panic has spread about the planet’s temperature rising a couple of notches (apparently an increase of just 1.5°C means instant disaster and pumping it up by 2°C means an irreversible catastrophe).

    Now it seems that these things are playing their part in adjusting temperatures, but not in the manner hoped for or predicted.

    Study after study shows local nighttime temperatures rising by as much as 1.5°C, wherever these things are operating.

    None of this would come as a surprise to grape and fruit growers who, in chillier climes, use frost fans in their vineyards and orchards to stir up the air at nighttime to prevent frosts ruining their crops.

  3. Basic thermodynamics tells us that if you reduce the momentum of a gas flow it results, among other things, in an increase in temperature. Thus these wind turbines do precisely that.

    These turbines however siphon off some of the captured energy into the form of electrical energy, which in turn eventually results in an increase in temperature.

    It is a basic fact that ANY use of energy, from whatever source results in an increase of energy in the environment.
    Wind energy is neutral in this respect as it returns energy harvested from the environment back to the environment.
    However the returned energy is different; in that there is an increased temperature offset by the reduction in velocity.

    All in all one can only conclude that wind turbines tend to warm the planet.

  4. Barry Liberty says:

    Do you know what is the carbon footprint to build a single wind turbine, including foundations, 80mts height x 4mts diam steel towers and generators?? Let’s start from there…

  5. singletonengineer says:

    The air passing through the swept blade area of the turbine increases in diameter, thus sweeping slightly faster at ground level.

    Combine this with other effects and drying of the soil is the consequence.

    The increased air speed at ground level will also lift more of the now drier topsoil, which is thus blown off the farm.

    But this isn’t part of the business plan of the wind turbine owners, is it? It doesn’t appear on the debit side of the economic and environmental analyses, does it?

    You have to wonder how much of NSW’s topsoil has been transferred to the Pacific Ocean due to this effect.

  6. Michael Crawford says:

    Multiple studies have now identified the down wind effect raising surface temperatures. Important question in Australia is what are the bushfire consequences? Our fire authorities have refused to investigate.

    Wind farms are often placed in grassy areas in Australia. If surface temperatures are raised, does that:
    – lead to faster growth in spring, producing high fuel loads?
    – cause moisture content in fuel to be even lower in summer, so more flammable, and lower earlier in the day so if a blaze starts it has more hours to then develop before night?
    – cause near surface turbulence earlier in the day than would otherwise be the case, exacerbating fire conditions?

    You would think our fire authorities would be paying attention but a FOI request to NSW RFS has revealed they have not examined the matter.

    • Fire authorities are in denial too when it comes to the dangers of flying fire fighting aircraft in proximity to wind turbines. There appears to be little guidance when it comes to factors like wake turbulence and direct tower collisions, all exacerbated by smoke, turbulence created by the fire.

      • Bon, not just in denial, they’re suffering a dangerous form of delusion. Note this exchange with a Victorian CFA officer during the Senate Inquiry:

        Senator BACK: Do you have any idea of what the volume of oil would be up in the top of the wind turbines? It is probably the oil more than plastics that are likely to burn.

        Mr Andreou: I am aware that non-combustible oils are generally used these days for lubricant, hydraulics and the like. That is the type. I could not give you exact figures on the quantities. I know that they are significant quantities, but, no, I could not provide you with the detail of the exact quantities.

        CHAIR: You said that the oil is non-combustible. Would you be able to take on notice what that statement is based on, gentlemen? What information do you have to rely on that it is not combustible oil used in the gearboxes of the turbines?

        Mr Andreou: We have been reliant on the information provided by the facility managers or owners.

        The full story is available here:

        https://stopthesethings.com/2015/04/22/victorian-country-fire-authoritys-claim-that-wind-turbines-not-combustible-scorched/

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