Is the case for wind going up in flames?
Wind power has been touted for decades as a favorable option to traditional sources of power, such as hydroelectric, coal, and nuclear, due to its relatively innocuous impact on the environment.
However, the long-term sustainability of the wind alternative is being called into question on several fronts.
More damage was done to the advocates of wind energy when on Sunday, Reuters released the findings of a study conducted by researchers at the State University of New York at Albany, which might show that wind farms might actually contribute to the warming of climate at least at local or regional levels.
Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels contribute to global warming, which could lead to the melting of glaciers, sea level rise, ocean acidification, crop failure and other devastating effects, scientists say.
In a move to cut such emissions, many nations are moving towards cleaner energy sources such as 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. (Read more…)
A number of jurisdictions, including Ontario, Canada, are making major investments in wind power as part of their commitment to greener energy. Are we headed in the right direction?
Your comments are welcome.
- Wind Power in Ontario: A Battle Royale? Law Suits and Protests are the Order of the Day The Government of Ontario seems to be caught between a rock and a hard place with respect to its desire to establish wind power as...
- Stormy Days Ahead for Wind Energy It appears that the supply chain for wind energy is about to undergo a significant transformation. The boom years for wind seem to have ranged...
- The Wind Turbine Debate CanWEA versus Wind Concerns Ontario By: John Skelton, Senior Editor Even the wind is controversial. Advances in technology combined with environmental advocacy have presented Canadians...
- Brewery Giant Heineken Shows Green Commitment The name Heineken conjures images of great quality, superior taste, and enjoying a cold one on the patio on a warm sunny afternoon, in the minds...
- First Solar to Cut 2,000 Jobs and Close German Manufacturing Operations Facing lower government subsidies, and softening demand, First Solar Inc., of Tempe, Arizona announced on Tuesday that it is restructuring its operations. The company says...