January 25, 2024 at 10:55 a.m.

Wind turbines - we should be concerned with size

Dear Editor,

Over the past few years, there have been several new energy development projects coming to our area. We have thousands of acres of solar and lately it’s been wind turbine companies. How much research has been done with these new larger turbines? We should be concerned with not only the health and safety with these wind turbine projects but also the effects on the environment.

I recently found an article called “Studies Show Wind Farms Raise Temperatures, And Impact Could Become Significant As More Are Built” written in May 2023. Showing multiple studies have found that wind farms raise temperatures at the ground level. While the effect is small, as more wind farms are built, it could become a significant and sustained problem.

There have been several studies over the past two decades that have found that wind turbines impact local meteorological conditions by raising the temperatures at the surface level.

The impacts are different from the warming effect of carbon dioxide emissions from oil, gas and coal in that they only last while the wind turbines are in operation. However, driven by federal subsidies, wind farms are being built across the states at a rapid pace. 

As these spread across the country,  there’s a growing concern of the cumulative impacts all these projects will produce.

“Anne Brande, executive director of the Albany County Conservancy, told Cowboy State Daily there are 13 wind projects planned around Laramie alone.

“I’m concerned about the impacts, as are the conservancy members. And no one is really taking a look at all this,” Brand said.

A 2004 study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that “large-scale use of wind power can alter local and global climate by extracting kinetic energy and altering turbulent transport in the atmospheric boundary layer.” 

The authors of the study also state that large amounts of wind across the continent will produce a pronounced impact on climate, but that reducing carbon dioxide emissions produce a net benefit to the climate. 

In a 2010 study, University of Illinois researcher Somnath Roy found that wind farms affect temperatures and humidity near the surface.

Roy warns that the “explosive growth” of future wind farms, which has occurred since the study was done, could impact agriculture. Roy was co-author on a 2013 study that found the same impacts. 

“More and more wind farms are being constructed on agricultural land that is sensitive to changes in the microclimate,” the authors write. 

Roy was also co-author on a 2015 study that found wind farms raise nighttime temperatures.” There are numerous studies listed in this article. We need to take heed of how wind turbines can change our environment along with the effects on our own health and safety.

Steve Ferrell

Iowa County landowner

Monroe, WI