Skip to comments.Wind Farms Warming Texas
Posted on 04/29/2012 4:01:29 PM PDT by Free ThinkerNY
New research finds that wind farms actually warm up the surface of the land underneath them during the night, a phenomena that could put a damper on efforts to expand wind energy as a green energy solution.
Researchers used satellite data from 2003 to 2011 to examine surface temperatures across as wide swath of west Texas, which has built four of the world's largest wind farms. The data showed a direct correlation between night-time temperatures increases of 0.72 degrees C (1.3 degrees F) and the placement of the farms.
"Given the present installed capacity and the projected growth in installation of wind farms across the world, I feel that wind farms, if spatially large enough, might have noticeable impacts on local to regional meteorology," Liming Zhou, associate professor at the State University of New York, Albany and author of the paper published April 29 in Nature Climate Change said in an e-mail to Discovery News.
Analysts say wind power is a good complement to solar power, because winds often blow more strongly at night while solar power is only available during daytime hours. But Zhou and his colleagues found that turbulence behind the wind turbine blades stirs up a layer of cooler air that usually settles on the ground at night, and mixes in warm air that is on top.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.discovery.com ...
IMHO...not only have wind turbine fires been caused by heat generated in the wiring; or from lightning strikes or by overspeed of the blades caused by wind gusts, etc.
Something that I’ve not seen mentioned as a source of heat/fire, is the heat generated in the gearboxes of these things. A very steep gear ratio is required to harness the very slow revolutions of the propeller shaft, and step it up, through a series of gears, to the speed required to spin a generator at the revs per minute required to produce electricity. The pressure on that gear train has to be very high, and it surely results in a lot of heat being created.
This very type of heat generation in the harnessing of mechanical torque is why there are transmission coolers on trucks, and on cars used to pull campers and other loads. Also, the housing/fairing enclosing the gearbox and generator machinery actually traps most of this heat because the housing must be fairly tight to preclude bird nests, insects and their nests, etc. So the machinery is not even effectively air-cooled.
Not many reach temps sufficient to cause a fire, but I think the rise in air temperatures surrounding the turbines comes at least as much, if not more, from the heat generated BY the turbines themselves, than it does merely from disturbance of the air strata around them. Bottom line: The turbines innately are generators of heat, as well as electricity.
Wind farms occasionally show up as precipitation on weather radars during times of high humidity (evenings, early mornings). I had more or less assumed that the cause was condensation on the blades. However, your picture shows that other possibilities exist.
Mostly correct. “They” have no intent on “them” living in caves. The caves are reserved for us.
I don't think so.
LOL - Things are bigger up close.
Pleased to meet ya.
Do you still light smudge pots, too?
Gonna need something bigger than a 3/4 ton. Each blade is the length of two railroad cars. Those things are massive.
I’m in Yakima, WA. Am now retired, but have spent many nights out in orchards running wind machines and burning oil and propane to save the company’s crops.
Propane is still used to some extent, but water is preferred.
It was discovered some years ago that running under-tree sprinklers in conjunction with the wind machines was extremely effective. The water is warmer than the ambient air temp and helps to also raise the internal temp of the orchard. In addition, the humidity makes the fan more efficient because dry, cold air is harder to move than the wetter air.
Just a caveat, the morning temp has to be above freezing several degrees before the water can be turned off.
Next time you are in wine country, check out the Wind Machines.
The purpose of these windmills is not to generate electricity. In fact, they are powered by electic motors, and their purpose is to disturb the airflow over the vinyard to keep the ground level warmer at night.
They have been using these things out in California for as long as I can remember, so at least thirty years. This is not exactly a newly discovered phenomenon.
That would make sense. If you power a fan, it generates airflow. But if it’s natural airflow that powers a propeller, then the propeller is going to slow down the natural airflow.