Study: Wind Farms Cause Climate Change

Aaron Flint posted on April 30, 2012 15:58 :: 1238 Views

It’s another case of green on green violence.  Climate change scientists are now saying that wind energy has a warming effect on the climate.  In other words, wind energy is not the solution to supposed global warming; it is part of the problem.  The Helena, Montana based blogger who writes on The 2nd Grade Bike Rack, was readying this post as we began discussing the topic on the air Monday morning.     

I had at least one wind energy advocate who could barely contain his anger when he called the talk show.  He called me a liar and said I needed to have Dr. Steve Running from The University of Montana on the show.  (Been there, done that, no problem doing it again at some point)

Why was this windbagger particularly angry with me today?  Well, because I had the audacity to share a news report from Reuters  and The UK Telegraph discussing the study.    

Reuters had this:

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. 

“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.

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.

The UK Telegraph  added the note that the warming could have long term effects on wildlife living in the immediate areas of larger wind farms. 

So that’s where all the elk in Montana went.  And here we thought it was only the wolves we had to be concerned about.    

***UPDATE: Just in case any of you actually took the above-mentioned study seriously, and didn’t sense my sarcasm when talking and blogging about the report- the wind energy industry wants you to know that you should not believe wind farms cause global warming.  

The Christian Science Monitor has this:

This new study doesn’t necessarily illustrate a causal link between wind turbines and localized warming, let alone temperature change on a global scale. The authors of the Nature paper were the first to admit that further science is needed to determine that exact nature of this link.

If it were true that the spinning blades of wind turbines increased the overall temperature of the planet, as opposed to simply redistributing thermal energy, we would have to rewrite some basic laws of physics, particularly the 2nd law of thermodynamics. This is an important distinction from the burning of fossil fuels, which produces gas that increases how much of the sun’s energy the Earth retains. In this respect, this process contributes to a globally warming climate because the source of energy (the sun) is apart from the system that is warmed (the Earth.)

Russ Doty

Monday, April 30, 2012 8:10 PM

The American Wind Energy Association has a statement out on this today that makes it clear that this study says nothing about wind energy and global climate, and that it casts no doubt on all the other studies that find wind power is one of the best ways to address climate change.

This study merely examined the effect of local air mixing at the site of a wind farm, which has nothing to do with climate because no heat or heat-trapping gases are being added to the atmosphere:
For further analysis on how misreporting has twisted these study findings, see AWEA’s blog, Into the Wind, by Michael Goggin, titled “Fact check: Flawed science journalism on wind energy”:

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