Energy Transmission: Do Wind and Solar Collectors Affect Climate?

Effects in the “one digit per thousand” range

Independent experts drew attention to this in connection with the Miller and Keith studyWind turbines do not add net additional energy to the atmosphere. Although it gets warmer near the ground, the air above the wind turbines cools accordingly. “These and other studies suggest that wind farms can cause local and regional rise – but not global warming,” said Alona Armstrong, a researcher at the UK’s Lancaster Center for the Environment and lecturer in energy and environmental sciences. If you turn off the wind turbines, the effect will disappear, unlike power plants that burn fossil fuels.

A similar view is Stephen Mobbs, director of the American Center for Atmospheric Sciences. Only wind turbines can distribute the available energy differently – unlike greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, whose increased emission leads to a real increase in heat in the atmosphere. Therefore, the impact of wind turbines will be limited to the local level.

Offshore wind farms can make coastlines drier

In the study of the year 2020 Nicola Fahl and Christina Archer of the University of Delaware came to the conclusion that offshore turbines increase precipitation at sea and thus reduce moisture on land. They read this from rainfall data on the west coast of England – before and after the establishment of offshore wind farms. However, the changes were minor, within 11 percent of the average or less. “We don’t want to interpret our study to mean that wind farms are causing droughts,” Archer said. In an accompanying press release,. However, in areas with very little rainfall, it is still important to determine whether an offshore wind farm will result in reduced rainfall.

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Johannes Coase, professor of theoretical meteorology at the University of Leipzig, sees it similarly: “Of course there are changes in the microclimate on a very small scale of up to several hundred meters – among other things due to disturbances caused by wind turbines, for example.” The meteorologist has larger ranges, but there are no systematic changes. It is estimated that the total impact of solar and wind power plants in Germany in relation to energy flows that determine the climate is in the range of one per thousand. “They are too small to be identified due to the wide variety of weather patterns,” Quaas says. This also applies to the existing and planned large wind and solar parks in other countries.

Physicist Thomas Berner, professor of theoretical meteorology at the Faculty of Physics at the University of Munich, also refers to energy flows to assess the climatic effects of wind and solar energy. »Total current primary energy consumption by mankind is in the order of 1013 Watts. This is about four times less than the amount that flows into the Earth’s climate system from the Sun. “In this respect, it is inconceivable that solar gardens could have a noticeable impact on the global climate. However, he does not rule out regional changes caused by the albedo effect due to large-scale photovoltaic systems and the resulting feedback effects.

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