Monday, April 30, 2012

$1+ billion in Public Monies Funds Increased Global Warming in Oregon?

As reported previously, General Electric has received over $1 billion dollars in federal funds to create the Shepherds Flat wind power project in Oregon. The U.S. Department of Energy is giving GE a $1.06 billion loan plus a cash grant of almost half a billion dollars ($490 million) is in the pipeline. But it turns out that a State University of New York at Albany study shows that areas in Texas with wind farms are warmer (up to 0.72 degrees Celsius per decade) than similar nearby regions without wind farms. From Reuters:
"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."
The 0.72 degree Celsius warming is significant considering that "[s]cientists say the world's average temperature has warmed by about 0.8 degrees Celsius since 1900, and nearly 0.2 degrees per decade since 1979." So, the warming in Texas in areas with wind farms is almost equal in a decade to average global warming in the last four decades. That's a 4x multiplier.

Apparently the culprit is that the air turbulence caused by the wind turbines keeps the surrounding ground area warmer than in areas without wind turbines.
"The Texas study found the temperature around wind farms rose more at night, compared with nearby regions. This was possibly because while the earth usually cools after the sun sets, bringing the air temperature down, the turbulence produced by the farms kept the ground in their area warm."
H/T William Jacobson


James Nicholas said...

I have heard from those in the know that there's a lot of money tobe had in those windfarms. Not in the power generation mind you, but in building the darn things and in the services of high wire electricians to keep them running.

T. D. said...

Funny how building with public "incentives" is a moneymaker.

Max always reminds us that there's also money to be made when they have to be torn down or replaced. Heh, a nice circular venture.

Thanks for dropping by!