Wind Farms and other cleaner energy sources will almost certainly play a critical role in the worldwide fight against climate change. However, a new study reveals that erecting wind turbines at random without thorough planning may be harmful. According to research published Thursday in the Nature journal Scientific Reports by scientists from Germany’s coastal research center, the Helmholtz-Zentrum Hereon, wind turbines essentially slow downwind speed in the local and downstream regions.
When wind turbines are clustered too closely together, the entire farm becomes less efficient, a significant factor for renewable energy infrastructure. The researchers used precise weather models to replicate meteorological conditions in the North Sea, where offshore Wind Farms are being created. More are planned in the future to forecast the effects of packed turbines on the wind.
They discovered a year-round pattern of wind slowdown, which they related to a 20 percent reduction in energy output for any further turbines placed in the impacted area. That’s a big thing, assuming the models are correct. According to a press release, stronger winds will be beneficial to the energy industry and the surrounding coastal ecosystems that rely on them.
According to the lead author and HZH researcher Naveed Akhtar, the team’s next step is to figure out what effect the slower wind might have on the nearby ecosystem. After all, switching to wind energy, which is otherwise intelligent, would make a lot less sense if it harms the environment. The idea of switching is brilliant but it is useful if it is not proven harmful to the environment.