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snopes 08 October 2013 01:23 AM

Rep. Joe Barton on wind power
 
Comment: US Rep Joe Barton, member of House Committee on Energy, quoted as
saying: "Wind is a finite resource and harnessing it would slow the winds
down, which would cause the temperature to go up."

Gutter Monkey 08 October 2013 04:59 AM

As reported by Time magazine!

Quote:

2. That said, Barton has used the threat of global warming to combat something he hates even more: wind energy. In a 2009 hearing, Barton implied that wind is a "finite resource" and that harnessing it would "slow the winds down" which would "cause the temperature to go up."
http://content.time.com/time/politic...997963,00.html

I think this article from the Washington Monthly has the actual quote:
Quote:

"Wind is God's way of balancing heat. Wind is the way you shift heat from areas where it's hotter to areas where it's cooler. That's what wind is. Wouldn't it be ironic if in the interest of global warming we mandated massive switches to energy, which is a finite resource, which slows the winds down, which causes the temperature to go up? Now, I'm not saying that's going to happen, Mr. Chairman, but that is definitely something on the massive scale. I mean, it does make some sense. You stop something, you can't transfer that heat, and the heat goes up. It's just something to think about."

Skeptic 08 October 2013 05:21 AM

Quote:

Wind is the way you shift heat from areas where it's hotter to areas where it's cooler.
Actually, it's the other way around. Hot air rises, cooler air takes its place.

Troberg 08 October 2013 06:17 AM

Well, it's true, except that you'd have to do something like cover the entire earth in a 20 km thick layer of wind turbines for that to happen.

Incidentally, that's approximately on the same magnitude as the amound of wind turbines needed to replace other energy sources.

ganzfeld 08 October 2013 08:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Troberg (Post 1774079)
[...] cover the entire earth in a 20 km thick layer [...] Incidentally, that's approximately on the same magnitude as the amound of wind turbines needed to replace other energy sources.

Citation needed.

GenYus234 08 October 2013 02:59 PM

This article on a TVA wind farm says the turbines develop 1.8 megawatts each. Wikipedia says that worldwide energy consumption in 2008 was 143 petawatts. That works out to about 8 million turbines of that size, or about 1 turbine every 7 square miles.

ETA: Of course, that assumes that there are no other methods of generation electricity.

A Turtle Named Mack 08 October 2013 08:44 PM

That, of course, assumes similar wind-generation capacity across the world. Those TVA turbines are at the top of a ridge where one can expect a lot of wind most of the time. Most areas are much less reliable. And after a certain point of concentration of turbines, you really do get interference of the turbines with each other, as the wind is reduced and redirected by pushing past the blades.

GenYus234 08 October 2013 09:16 PM

Sure, but turbines can be concentrated a lot more than 1 per 7 square miles. The site I linked to has 18 turbines on a 2 mile long ridge. And at 78m tall, it would take about 4,000 of them to reach 20 km high. At that level of stacking, you could put about 1% of all the required turbines on that one 2 mile long site.

jimmy101_again 08 October 2013 09:22 PM

More importantly, it assumes that the turbines are operating at 100% speed 100% of the time, which is pretty unlikely. If the net efficiency (including transmission losses) is 10% you would need roughly one tower per square mile.

A Turtle Named Mack 08 October 2013 09:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GenYus234 (Post 1774286)
Sure, but turbines can be concentrated a lot more than 1 per 7 square miles. The site I linked to has 18 turbines on a 2 mile long ridge. And at 78m tall, it would take about 4,000 of them to reach 20 km high. At that level of stacking, you could put about 1% of all the required turbines on that one 2 mile long site.

Wind turbines at 20 km would not be very effective, what with the air being so thin.

ETA: But if you are going to build 20 km tall towers, you could get kickass solar power generation up there.

geminilee 08 October 2013 09:46 PM

Quote:

Wouldn't it be ironic if in the interest of global warming we mandated massive switches to energy, which is a finite resource,
If only the Earth had something to provide energy to power the wind from an outside source. Like, some source of heat to keep the air masses moving. Like maybe we could put a great big ball of fire in space, or something...

GenYus234 08 October 2013 10:01 PM

Sure, there would be some loss of efficiency. But 4,000 turbines per square mile over 57.5 million square miles would be 280 trillion turbines. They could be 0.1% as efficient as the ones in my link and still provide over 3 times the energy that the earth uses.

snopes 08 October 2013 10:05 PM

Quote:

Now, I'm not saying that's going to happen, Mr. Chairman, but that is definitely something on the massive scale. I mean, it does make some sense.
"Just because this isn't happening, and won't happen, doesn't mean we shouldn't be outraged about it."

Troberg 09 October 2013 06:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ganzfeld (Post 1774086)
Citation needed.

Just a rough guesstimate.

The thing is, wind turbines won't stop the wind significantly, simply because they are so darn ineffective. They just remove very little momentum from the moving air.

I saw a calculation done a decade or so ago, which showed that if Sweden were to replace our nuclear reactors with wind turbine, we would need to cover the entire Skåne, Blekinge, Halland and Småland (ie, everyting below lake Vättern) with turbines. Yet, nuclear power is less than half our power production, we have roughly as much hydroelectric power, and some small amount of fossil fuels on top of that.

Despite that, we have some uneducated weed hippies who believe Sweden should build wind turbines...

Wind energy might make you feel good and environmentally friendly and all that, but it's useless if you want to make any significant impact.


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