Pioneering Wind Energy Study Looks 30-50 Years Ahead for Global Warming Impact


Image: Sara Pryor, IU Bloomington/Courtesy of Indiana University.
"First ever analysis of long-term stability of wind over the U.S."
This week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (often just known by its acronym: PNAS) contains the first ever analysis of long-term wind stability in the United States. The goal was to see if global warming will have a big impact on wind patterns and, potentially, disrupt wind power production, compounding the problems caused by climate change. The results are very interesting...
Photo: Flickr, CC
Limited Impact from a Warmer Climate
The news are pretty good: "The greatest consistencies in wind density we found were over the Great Plains, which are already being used to harness wind, and over the Great Lakes, which the U.S. and Canada are looking at right now," said Provost's Professor of Atmospheric Science Sara Pryor, the project's principal investigator. "Areas where the model predicts decreases in wind density are quite limited, and many of the areas where wind density is predicted to decrease are off limits for wind farms anyway."

This kind of information is crucial, because if wind power is to become a much bigger player, not only in the U.S. but around the world, companies and governments need to know that wind patterns won't be altered too drastically, reducing the value of any long-term planning being done now.


Image: Steve Scott, IU Bloomington/Courtesy of Indiana University.

Of course, "it's hard to make predictions, especially about the future". The models could be wrong, unforeseen things could happen, but the information that we do have is now more solid than it was before this study. In other words, we have a higher degree of confidence in the data, probabilistically speaking, than we did before.

See also: Google Invests $100m in What Will be the World's Largest Wind Farm (845 MW)
See also: Google Invests $168 Million in 392MW Mojave Desert Solar Thermal Plant

Via Indiana University
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