DOE researcher suggests agricultural benefits from wind turbines

DOE researcher suggests agricultural benefits from wind turbines

Summary: This one is bound to create some controversy, given all the negative things I have read about living with or near wind turbines: Researchers at the U.S.

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TOPICS: Telcos
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This one is bound to create some controversy, given all the negative things I have read about living with or near wind turbines: Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory have published some preliminary research suggesting that wind turbines might have agricultural benefits for corn and soybean crops, keeping them cooler and dryer and potentially fending of certain fungal infections.

Hmmm.

The research was presented at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco by Gene Takle, an Ames Laboratory researchers and agricultural metereology expert. Here's what he has to say in a press release (the video amplifies his comments): "We've finished the first phase of our research, and we're confident that wind turbines do produce measurable effects on the microclimate near crops."

Although Takle and his fellow researcher are quick to point out that this is only early data and much more researcher needs to be done, one example of how a turbine might help is by making crops more resilient to excess heat or early frosts. For example, the turbines can stir that air on cold nights, keeping night-time temperatures around crops warmer. The turbines could also help prevent excess moisture from dew, by helping it evaporate. This could help protect against moisture-caused fungus, the researchers note.

Says Takle: "In a simplistic sense, a wind turbine is nothing more than a tall tree with a well-pruned stem. For a starting point for this research, we adapted a computational fluid model that we use to understand trees. But we plan to develop a new model specific to wind turbines as we gather more data."

Definitely research worth following. By the way, this research was funded by the royalty income generated from the Ames Laboratory seed funding program and also by money from the DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

Topic: Telcos

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7 comments
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  • Any research on large solar farms?

    I have wondered if a very large (as in > 4 square miles) would have serious micro climate effects like rain shadows and lower local temperatures. A reverse heat island effect.
    Bruizer
  • RE: DOE researcher suggests agricultural benefits from wind turbines

    If you pull enough energy out of the atmosphere its bound to have some effect, its simple thermodynamics. Good or bad effects is a whole other issue, but I suspect we are a real long way from "enough" right now.

    I'm a wind power skeptic, don't think it has a chance on its merits alone, without large taxpayer subsidies.

    They've got a bunch of wind and solar on street lights around here (your tax dollars at waste yet again). At least the solar part still seem to work but after about a year ~75% of the wind turbines are visibly broken (blades missing, don't turn at all, don't rotate into the wind).
    wkulecz
    • And what about all the oil subsidies?

      @wkulecz

      From huge payouts to car manufactures to great "deals" on land use and mineral/drilling rights.

      Without that assistance, the hydro-carbon machine would not be self sustaining unless we doubled the current price for fuel.

      Works both ways you know.
      Bruizer
  • Repercussions

    The literature registers serious concerns about wind power.
    Flocks of birds die, chopped in the blades. Bats die at a furious rate. Their little air bladder expands, killing them, in the low pressure turbine proximity.
    Measures can and are being developed to drastically ameliorate this carnage.
    But, the low pressure area generated, and/or possibly the sound frequency rate, are having debilitating health effects on a number of folk living down wind. Controversy rages here.
    The data on local weather repercussions is not in yet. I'm talking only in terms of large wind farms here. There has to be a measurable repercussion.
    It's only physics, to paraphrase wkulecz.
    PreachJohn
    • Do you put the damage higher than the Deep Water Horizon?

      @preachjohn

      No Text
      Bruizer
      • No, Bruizer!

        Never my intention Bruizer. Just intended as a sober factual counterbalance attempt to the article, that didn't allude to any possible downside itself. Too many paint wind and solar power just a little too glowingly as some easy new world panacea. There's a lot of nitty gritty reality intruding on the whole concept, beyond what I've noted.
        2ndly, my only other intention was to conversationally respond to the points of the 1st two posters. Not negating the whole concept at all, to be clear.
        Thanks for asking!
        PreachJohn
      • RE: DOE researcher suggests agricultural benefits from wind turbines

        @Bruizer
        There is no lasting damage from Deep Water Horizon except the oil that reached the shore, which was minimal. Oil seeps all the time from earthquakes and volcano activity and nature reclaims. Oil is a hydrocarbon and subject to decomposition like all other hydrocarbons...like you.
        GaryRW