Tanstaafl [1,2.3...]

In previous research, Keith and co-authors modeled the generating capacity of large-scale wind farms and concluded that real-world wind power generation had been overestimated because they neglected to accurately account for the interactions between turbines and the atmosphere…Keith and postdoctoral fellow Lee Miller were able to quantify the power density of 411 wind farms and 1,150 solar photovoltaic plants operating in the U.S. during 2016.

For wind, we found that the average power density — meaning the rate of energy generation divided by the encompassing area of the wind plant — was up to 100 times lower than estimates by some leading energy experts,” said Miller…

For solar energy, the average power density (measured in watts per meter squared) is 10 times higher than wind power, but also much lower than estimates by leading energy experts…

Then, they covered one-third of the continental U.S. with enough wind turbines to meet present-day U.S. electricity demand. The researchers found this scenario would warm the surface temperature of the continental U.S. by 0.24 degrees Celsius…This research supports more than 10 other studies that observed warming near operational U.S. wind farms…

The Harvard researchers found that the warming effect of wind turbines in the continental U.S. was actually larger than the effect of reduced emissions for the first century of its operation.



I noticed this about 25 yrs ago when people started talking about this stuff in earnest and ubiquitously. Noone anywhere for 100,000 years, in the “wood age” noticed the worldwide, world changing effects of burning wood. Then millienia later nobody was too concerned about burning coal and oil. Then decades later we started having to deal with smog and inversions. Then decades after that we started to infer some potential for climate change and a possible longer term disaster. Why would anybody think solar power, wind power and the like would be like some immaculate conception with no potential future, longer term downside, or just simple less-than-hoped for efficacy or unintended consequences? But the science is settled.


You have constructed a wall of straw men. Probably inadvertently because your straw men have become your reality.

1 Like

I was responding to a series of baseless claims about climate science. I should have just deleted the thread instantly like I usually do. I apologize for wasting my time and yours.

1 Like

Everything has some downside. The question is “which energy generators have the least harmful downsides?”

Let’s take solar, for example. The reason it has such a low downside is because it is almost entirely passive. Certainly as far as “fuel” is concerned. That’s because the “fuel” is shining down all the time, and is mostly wasted at the moment. Even if we were to get all our energy from solar, it would still be 99.9+% “wasted” since the quantity of it is simply so high that we don’t need “all” of it for our use.


I agree, 100%. So “cost” is mostly cost of construction, maintenance, and service life. Some would add the cost of disposal and returning site to natural state.

Some solar and wind operations have been around long enough to have pretty good numbers based on experience rather than estimates.

That is an advantage of coal fired power plants. Every major operator probably has real life figures on likely outcomes. Not just estimates.

1 Like

The cost for a distributed source such as solar also includes more grid and transmission costs. And the biggie, storage costs for intermittent sources.


1 Like

When fully depreciated i think wind and solar will be less costly than coal fired plants. It will depend on operating costs, maintanence, service life etc.

New facilities usually have large depreciation costs compared to old. This gives an apples to oranges comparison. Accountants can do all sorts things with those numbers to favor which ever one they prefer.

This 5 year old study has not spawned more recent work with the massive amounts of new wind energy added in the last 5 years. Wind energy has enormously less climatic impact than coal, oil or gas.

“The work should not be seen as a fundamental critique of wind power,” he said. “Some of wind’s climate impacts will be beneficial — several global studies show that wind power cools polar regions. Rather, the work should be seen as a first step in getting more serious about assessing these impacts for all renewables. Our hope is that our study, combined with the recent direct observations, marks a turning point where wind power’s climatic impacts begin to receive serious consideration in strategic decisions about decarbonizing the energy system.”


So, you’re saying the study hasn’t been refuted. As you noted, they found that substituting with wind makes things warmer here in the US (at least for the next century). TANSTAAFL.


I thought the science was settled? A “first step in getting more serious about assessing”…? How long have they been diddling with global warming catastraphizing? They can’t keep changing their inputs and conclusions every year and with every study and expect to be taken seriously. Well, they still expect to be taken seriously and that tells us something

1 Like

Gee and all this time I’ve been hearing we don’t have 100 years! - It’s already too late! - If we don’t stop all burning of fossil fuels by the year (date keeps moving for public relations fear mongering purposes and because the science isn’t settled) it’ll be too late! And now we have to use an energy source that takes 100 years to break even. And then how rapid is the pay off (Assuming we’re still alive) Probably not fast enough to save us from climate change.

I think you are not ware of how science progresses. What is settled is that the earth is
warming due to CO2 increses in our atmosphere mainly due to burning of fossil fuels by humans. All the details of the warming are still being discovered. These detailed discoveries do not change any conclusions! I do not unnderstand why you think scientists will are being dishonest. Do you have any science in your formal education aor in your post education background?

You do not understand that climate change is already impacting most areas of the earth. Some of the impacts are: temperatures are rising, glaziers are melting rapidly, storms are getting wilder & more powerful, forest fires are increasing, water shortages are increasing, flora & fauna are dying, Arctic sea ice is decreasing rapidly, Antarctic ice is decreasing rapidly, coastal cities are experiencing sea rise and flooding.

Wind and solar are much cheaper at producing electricity than fossil fuels. I do not know what energy source takes 100 years to break even.

In this case, the warming in the US produced by the turbines is greater than the warming avoided over the next century by not using fossil fuels to produce the same amount of electricity.


1 Like


Based on the ridiculous assumption that all of the electricity needed by USA will be produced by wind turbines and calculated using an unproven mathematical model based on limted data.


1 Like