Thursday, February 28, 2013

Wind farm energy might be over-estimated

Wind farms of the sort dotting the Plains states might have markedly less generating capacity than previously assumed, a UNC Charlotte researcher has found.

New research by UNCC's Amanda Adams and David Keith of Harvard University says the drag of large clusters of turbines slows wind enough to curb farms' generating capacity.

Conventional estimates have assumed large wind farms can sustain production of 2 and 4 watts per square meter. New atmospheric modeling by Adams and Keith show it's more likely limited to about 1 watt per square meter at farms larger than 100 square kilometers.

Their research was published Monday in the journal Environmental Research Letters. It was funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, which reports to Canada's Parliament.

"It's easy to mistake the term 'renewable' with the term 'unlimited' when discussing energy," Adams said in a UNCC release. "Just because you can keep generating new energy from a sources does not mean you can generate energy in an unlimited amount."

Adams' research group focuses on the interface of energy, weather and climate. Densely-placed wind turbines can also have environmental impacts, her research found, including low-level warming when wind farms change natural wind shear and produce turbulence.


Missouri said...

Seriously Bruce, haven't you fact checked that before? That is common knowledge around the industry. Wow, how Obama and the mass media has dumbed down the public!

Why don't you check the facts on solar PV power? That should scare you more.

Michael Goggin said...

This study errs in its assessment of potential wind energy resources by ignoring real-world data and experience and instead relying on crude theoretical modeling techniques. In reality, wind project developers and investors work closely with atmospheric scientists and other experts to make sure that their projects will produce as much as expected, and real-world data from large-scale wind installations in the US and Europe confirms that they do. Regardless of who is correct, the inescapable fact is that America's developable wind energy resources are many times greater than our country's energy needs.

For more, see:

Michael Goggin,
American Wind Energy Association

Jim said...

Too, they are so beautiful against a back drop of the purple mountain majesties!

Philip Andolina said...

Are there no "large" wind farms necessitating a reliance on modeling leading to your cautionary conclusion? Or is there no publicly available data on existing large farms of actual generation per meter?