No Answer: Climate Change ‘Threat’ Can’t Be Cured By Intermittent Wind Power

It’s apparently gospel now, that man-made carbon dioxide gas is toxic “pollution” that – unless humans stop generating it ASAP – an inevitable Armageddon follows. The naturally occurring kind doesn’t register, however.

In the next earnest breath, we are told that the only answer available to prevent our planet’s pending demise is to carpet its forests, wilderness and farmlands with wind turbines and solar panels.

So, let’s accept the former premise and test the latter, with a little help from John Droz.

Taking the Wind Out of Climate Change
Wise Energy
John Droz
4 March 2022

The proponents of Climate Change insist that we are facing an imminent existential threat to our very existence. To prevent this catastrophe they assert that we must make immediate, impactful changes — particularly regarding our energy policies. The primary solution advocated by the major Climate Change advocates (e.g., the IPCC and the scientists comprising the so-called 97% consensus) is industrial wind energy.

The fundamental question is: if we accept the Climate Change contention and then spend Trillions of dollars to assiduously implement their wind energy solution, will the existential threat be extinguished in the short time-table they say we have?

The answer is an unequivocal NO, for at least the following six (6) reasons:

1 – There is no scientific proof that wind energy saves any consequential CO2.

Industrial wind energy has been around now for over 20 years, so there is plenty of empirical data available. However, if we ask for scientific proof that wind energy actually saves a meaningful amount of CO2, what wind proponents provide are “studies” based on computer models. There are two major problems with that non-answer:

a) Computer models are appropriate for when there is no actual data available. However, since there are 200,000+ operating wind turbines on the planet, there is an enormous amount of real-world data about exactly how much CO2 is really being saved. So why would empirical data be hidden, and computer models put forward instead? Because that data
evidently is not favorable to the wind industry lobby, as it shows little CO2 being saved.

b) The other reason that wind marketers love computer models, is that they can easily hide important assumptions in the code. For example, one of their favorite tricks is to compare wind energy produced CO2 to coal produced CO2. The problem is that this is a straw man comparison. If we are going to add 1 GW of new electrical energy generation, the comparison should be between what the likely options are today — not what they were before. In other words, compare wind to nuclear or gas, not coal.

A second serious problem with models, is that wind-generated CO2 is not accurately calculated in the computer models put forth by wind lobbyists. E.g., they typically do not take into account all the manufacturing and assembly generated CO2 (e.g. 2± million pounds of concrete per turbine). E.g., they usually do not take into account the CO2 produced by the gas generator that is typically paired with each wind project (see #2
below). Etc.

2 – There is good evidence that wind energy can produce more CO2 than gas.

This non-intuitive reality is based on the fact that there is no such thing on the Grid as Wind energy by itself. What typically exists is a Wind+Gas package. (See “a” below.)

There are two very different types of Gas electricity generators (Single-Cycle and CombinedCycle). Briefly, they differ in three major ways (cost, response time, and CO2 generated).

Most of the time (because of cost and response time), Wind is paired with Single-Cycle Gas — so the Wind+Gas package is Wind+Gas (Single-Cycle).

The kicker is to be aware that analyses done by independent experts have concluded that: Wind+Gas (Single-Cycle) can produce more CO2 than Gas (Combined-Cycle)! (See “b” below.)
a) Sample references regarding the Wind+Gas package:

  1. Moony 2016
  2. Lang 2009
  3. Clemennte 2017
  4. Wagman 2013
  5. Marques, Fuinhas & Pereira 2018
  6. French 2018
  7. Bowden 2018
  8. Mearns 2016
  9. Andrews 2017
  10. Hawkins 2010
  11. Bryce 2018
  12. Teyssen & Fuchs 2005
  13. Verdolini, Vona & Popp 2016
  14. Smil 2016
  15. Barrios 2017
  16. Linneman & Vallana 2010 (p67)
  17. Shepstone 2019
  18. Birkett 2019
  19. Watts & Watts 2015
  20. Hewson & Pressman nd
  21. Courtney 2006
  22. Adams 2010
  23. Mainzer 2021.

b) Sample references regarding how Gas can produce less CO2 than the Wind+Gas package:

  1. Bentek 2020 – How Less Became More
  2. Bentek 2011 – Wind Power Paradox
  3. Plummer, Frank & Marcus 2017 – USAEE report.
  4. Hawkins 2009 – Wind Integration Emissions Report: part I, part II, part III, part IV, and part V
  5. Wheatley 2012
  6. Droz 2014

3 – There are quality studies that conclude that wind turbines add to global warming.
The reasons for this unsuspected outcome are a bit complex, and range from “increased boundary layer mixing” to “altered large-scale atmospheric flow.” Some sample studies that have come to such conclusions are:

  1. Keith, DeCarolis & Denkenberger & Rasch 2004 – PNAS study
  2. Bettex 2010 and Wang & Prinn 2011 – MIT study
  3. Zhou et al 2012 – Texas study
  4. Zhang et al 2013 – MN study
  5. Harris, Zhou & Xia 2014 – SUNY study
  6. Fitch 2015 – Colorado study
  7. Brunsell & Mechem 2015 – Kansas study
  8. Miller & Keith 2018 – Harvard study

4 – Several studies conclude that turbines affect local meteorological conditions.
This is related to the prior item but is more on a local level. One consequence of these influences is that crop production can be adversely affected. Some sample studies that have concluded that local weather is affected are:

  1. Roy & Traiteur 2010 – PNAS study
  2. Roy 2010 – U Illinois study
  3. Fiedler & Bukovsky 2011 – Oklahoma study
  4. Min et al 2011 – Purdue study
  5. Cervarich, Roy & Zhou 2013 – U Illinois study
  6. Slawsky et al 2015 – SUNY study
  7. Armstrong et al 2015 – Scotland study
  8. Miles et al, 2020 – Rutgers study.

5 – Multiple studies show that turbine performance drops steadily with age.
This shouldn’t really be a surprise. Such a decline is attributable to some of the mechanical parts of the turbine wearing down, to increased resistance built up on turbine blades. Some sample studies that have analyzed this performance decline are:

  1. Harrison 2011
  2. Hughes 2012
  3. Bach 2012
  4. Staffell & Green 2013
  5. Wilkinson 2014
  6. Olauson et al 2017.

6 – Several studies demonstrate the diminishing returns of adding more Turbines.
Electricity is generated by wind turbines extracting (converting) energy from solar-generated wind. However, put simply, there quickly comes a point where adding more turbines results in a lower amount of electricity generated per turbine. The mechanics are explained in a variety of studies, and some sample studies are:

  1. Miller et al 2015 – University of Kansas
  2. Miller & Kleidon 2016 – PNAS study
  3. Miller & Keith 2018 – Harvard study
  4. Lundquist et al 2018 – NSF study
  5. Howland et al 2018 – Journal of Physics study.

The bottom line is that there is no scientific proof that wind energy saves any consequential amount of CO2 — and plenty of evidence that wind energy is not a good solution to a claimed catastrophic threat (that requires a large, short-term change). What does it say about the “experts” who propose an illegitimate solution? It either means that: a) they are not real experts, or b) they are pushing an undeclared agenda. All this should be no surprise as (regarding the global warming issue) we have left the security of genuine Science, and are now sinking into the quagmire of political science.
Wise Energy

Then came the next ice age …


April 28, 2023 at 02:31AM

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