Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Not So Clean Energy?

A new academic study indicates that wind energy may not be the holy grail it was made out to be. The study by a group of Canadian and American scientists has shown that large scale wind power would result in changes in global temperature.

While the precise tradeoff between the climate changes from wind farms versus that from carbon-based power systems is still a matter of contention, the fact that wind power isn't climate neutral leaps out of the simulations.
The fact that wind energy may cause problems of its own should not end the move towards greener sources of energy. The paper shows that if wind energy were to account for 1/10th the world's energy, the temperature altering effects would be only 1/5th those of the carbon dioxide it would replace. Perhaps even more interesting, the report appears (to a layman) to indicate the climate alteration might help in the fight against global warming. Since the wind turbines would alter the global wind patterns, temperature forecasts for the 10% threshold indicate that the temperature would rise in temperate zones and decrease in the Arctic. Estimates indicate the temperature change could be anywhere from 1/3 to 2 degrees Celsius depending on the amount of wind energy produced.

While such an effect might make life less pleasant in Mexico and Texas, it would prevent the melting of the polar ice caps. In that regard, this result must be taken not as a negative, but as the strongest endorsement to date of wind power.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let me see here, it would lead to higher temperatures in the US but would lower temperatures in the extreme north and prevent the ice caps from melting? Good thing we don't live in the states. Let's cover the prairies with these turbines.

4:43 PM  
Blogger Caurus said...

How is this not better than burning coal and oil for electricity? This is an endorsement of wind energy.

11:32 AM  
Blogger Marina974 said...

Go Clean Energy Go!

12:05 PM  
Blogger Hobbesian said...

I think this points to the need for more studies. If the very first study indicates that this would harm the environment, what might later studies show?

12:43 PM  
Blogger Nylon said...

Wind energy is better than anything else but Solar energy. To delay any move over to wind energy at this point would be catastrophic.

12:55 PM  

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