Pros and Cons of Wind Farms

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1051412_wind_turbinesThe use of wind to generate electricity has been getting rave reviews: it doesn’t create greenhouse gases, isn’t detrimental to the environment like some (BP) oils, and no one can really own it so there won’t be wars fought about it and supplies are a natural occurrence. But according to researchers from the University of Illinois, wind farms can change the climate – they can make it cooler during the day and warmer at night.

The University’s atmospheric sciences professor Somnath Baidya Roy worked with Neil Kelley, a principle scientist at the National Wind Technology Centre to come up with these findings. A description on ScienceDaily stated that the study found that temperatures in the area immediately around the turbines were slightly cooler at day and slightly warmer at night than the rest of the region.

Roy explains that when turning rotors generate turbulence the upper-level air is pulled down towards the surface and the surface air is misplaced upwards. The difference between warmer or cooler air around the wind-farms is location – in the Midwest where most wind farms are located on agricultural land, a night-time warming effect could act as frost protection thus slightly extending the growing season.

However warmer climates aren’t necessarily a good thing and the researchers are using the study to come up with and suggest some new designs for a lower-impact and more efficient kind of wind turbine. These would have to have less effect on local climates. They have also focused on finding already turbulent locations in the world where there wind farms are not likely to have an effect on the local climates (China and the Great Plains of Europe).

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