Wind power too adds to warming

James Marshall
October 8, 2018

Currently, there are more than 54,000 wind turbines with a combined capacity of 90,004 MW operating in 41 states, Guam, and Puerto Rico.

It's just that advocates of wind power have been ignoring growing evidence of a downside, he said. New research reports that installing large-scale wind farms across the country could raise the temperature of the continental United States. In the real world, a spinning turbine might not cause almost as much as drag as the simulation suggested, meaning that flowing wind might be able to power the planet and still keep it cool.

While the long-term impact of wind turbines on the climate is still favourable, as they will significantly reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. "If your perspective is the next thousand years, then wind power has enormously less climatic impact than coal or gas", Keith said. Previous studies have also examined the impact of wind turbines on climate change.

In their research paper, published Thursday in Joule, models suggested that powering the USA with wind alone would warm the planet a quarter-degree Celsius over the next century, while removing carbon-based energy would only decrease the temperature by a tenth of a degree over the same time frame. But for the most part, these seem like small gripes if, in fact, wind power does what proponents have always promised: weaning us off fossil fuels towards renewable energy, which will slow the rate of global warming. Instead, he said they move the existing heat around, causing it to circulate.

The reason for this effect: Normally the air is more still at night, with cold air staying near the surface and warmer air resting a little higher.

By comparison, the average global temperature has risen by approximately one degree since the end of the 19th century.

Local warming in the locations of wind turbines can be used in agricultural production. Of course, they aren't as bad as coal plants but they make us seriously think about how they can change the local temperatures. In contrast, the climate effect of wind turbines is what it is. Climate is affected. But as long as you run the wind turbine, the climate change doesn't get any worse.

Follow Seth Borenstein on Twitter: @borenbears.

The Associated Press Health & Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Department of Science Education.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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