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BBC finds wind farms have no effect on climate

For a moment I thought the BBC was tackling a very important question:

Wind farms’ climate impact recorded for first time

Most taxpayers want to know whether wind farms have an impact on our global climate. But the BBC are looking at whether wind farms cause warming on the square kilometer below them. A question hot on the lips of almost no people.

In the first study of its kind, scientists have been able to measure the climatic effect of a wind farm on the local environment.

The team said its experiment showed that there was a very slight warming at ground level and that it was localised to within a wind farm’s perimeter.

Data suggested the operation of onshore wind farms did not have an adverse ecological effect, the group added.

That will presumably reassure all three residents living under wind-farms who were worried about their house overheating, or the clothes not drying on the line.

It may not reassure the 99.9% of the UK people who pay for the BBC and hope to see it report something useful. Voters might have preferred to see a cost benefit analysis on the billion-dollar industry: What’s the dollar return on a subsidized plant designed to stop floods and make storms nicer, and how many degrees of cooling does a trillion dollars buy?

Though the story does provide a handy link for people who want to say “Study finds windfarms have no adverse ecological impact”. A truthy statement — as long as we ignore the ecology of the species known as homo sapiens. If I were being cruel I could call it BBC style Bread-and-Circuses-clickbait.

The BBC would of course, not be biased in its choice of language.  “Wind farms” means industrial wind turbine generators. Henceforth at the Beeb, coal-fired power stations shall be called “Coal Farms”.

And the University of Leeds is also a part of the Bread and Circuses industry. Someone could mention to the VC that doing the cost-benefit study above, or investigating the impact of infrasound on the health and sleeping patterns of people living in houses near wind “farms” would both be controversial, but might show that there was more of  a point to having a university in Leeds. The BBC could’ve asked why hardly anyone seems to be doing this kind of health research, and whether the Leeds agreed that investigating wind turbine health effects would be “irresponsible”.


Armstrong et al, (2016) Ground-level climate at a peatland wind farm in Scotland is affected by wind turbine operation. Env. Res. Lett. [Open Access.]




8.5 out of 10 based on 45 ratings

41 comments to BBC finds wind farms have no effect on climate

  • #

    Are they trying to tell us that the big bird mincers have no adverse ecological effect on wildlife?


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  • #

    If residents are worried about their clothes drying, turn the wind farms into fans…wait for a few to catch fire and hey presto – warm air….



    • #

      What I’ve been saying for years. If the increased temps are really worrying, turn these things into fans. Nothing like a nice cool breeze….


  • #

    Actually it occurs to me that “wind farms” is incorrect – a farm is something that produces or creates something.
    As the turbines dont produce wind, they should really be called electricity farms…or bird offal farms….or burnt plastic farms…or bad sleep farms….


  • #

    The statement that “Windfarms have no effect on climate” is correct: they operate with a capacity factor of 20- 30% which mandates back-up generation of electricity to prevent brown or black-outs and these units use oil/coal/gas. If carbon dioxide were to influence global temperatures there would be no effect because of the back-up generation, and if there weren’t it would not matter!


  • #

    There’s no link to the report….or it doesn’t work.
    I was just curious to see how hard they tried.


  • #

    There’s no link to the report….or it doesn’t work.
    I was just curious to see how hard they tried.
    Surely climate is more than temperature.


  • #

    Scientists have shown that windfarms have no ecological effect on anything, except bird populations.
    They are as useful as the Easter Island statues or the many henges of the UK. Massive monuments to a shamanistic religion of global warming.

    The only thing missing from the windfarms are druidic ceremonies led by billionaire Al Gore and his acolytes at the United Nations of wealth distribution, an exclusive order of rich ex politicians and rich families from small military dictatorships pretending to be democratic countries.

    Powerful United Nations high priests demand billions in golden tributes for small prayer offerings on pieces of paper, carbon credits. The merchant banks are the money lenders in the temples of this culture. Around the world, in the universities and councils, climate people all worship from the great book of Agenda 21 and pray that the deniers will suffer the wrath of Gaia and great taxation and will selectively suffer the terrible heat of +2C in the mean, hopefully. This is the word of Nobel Gore.


    • #
      Graeme No.3


      Not true. Tourists go to see the Easter Island statues and the UK henges. No-one wants to see another wind turbine.


      • #

        Just add a thousand years to the wind farms. Tourists will come and wonder at the sheer pointlessness of thousands of rusting collapsed windmills and puzzle that at a time of man’s master over the atom, we spent fortunes building thousands of useless windmills exactly where people had plenty of power and coal?

        It is so crazy, they can only conclude windmills building must have been a crazy religion, worship of sun, wind and sky. No one with any science would rely on unpredictable, low output, expensive windmills for power. Only politicians pleasing the masses with votive offerings to the Gods. The windfarms will be revered with the pyramids in Egypt and Mexico, with the paleolithic structures in Turkey and the giant statue of Al Gore, who brought Peace to the 20th century before the rise of the deniers.


  • #

    If the BBC thinks that this bit of climate research re wind turbines affecting the [ local ] climate  is the latest in science news then they must be well underway to reporting the end of WW2 any day now!

    { That busted link makes it difficult to draw any conclusions on this BBC report ]

    I certainly remember similar research articles from half a decade back and we use to debate ie; argue vehemently with the green sleaze warmistas about these types of items on another climate blog.

    A quick google search throws up a number of research and news articles, mostly based on a Texas study, on the wind turbines warming the local area by a part of a degree overnight.
    But conversely another study as reported by the UK’s Daily Mail can cool day temperatures by up to 4C, a wind turbine cooling which is rarely if ever mentioned for some reason.
    I guess it doesn’t fit the narrative as seen from a government funded climate troughers viewpoint of a sustained and catastrophic warming under way.
    All depending of course on as long as you can access the raw data so as to make the correct and politically acceptable warming “adjustments”.


  • #

    The BBC is the spendthrift version if you combined Der Stürmer with Pravda.


  • #

    The turbines homogenise the layers of air near the ground creating a slight warming effect at ground level. They’d be the perfect place for some new weather stations, don’t ya think?


  • #

    I wonder how they were able to definitively determine that low frequency sound from offshore turbines does not affect any sea critters. Especially since they missed the affect it has on humans.


  • #

    When can we expect a BBC study on the impact of windfarms on local populations of endangered avian species?


  • #
    Steamboat Jon

    No adverse ecological effect? I seem to recall there being an issue with some wind turbine locations located within the peat moors/bogs in various places in the UK and how it was disrupting the hydrological features (causing sections to dry up and die off). I saw the post here or on WUWT or SDA some years back. There are other hits out there on this subject, one article I found was:


  • #

    meanwhile, who benefits from this nonsense, apart from the lawyers?

    27 Apr: EconomicTimesIndia: PTI: Adani Australian coalmine approval faces fresh court challenge

    27 Apr: Courier Mail: Editorial: Ideological opposition to coal not concern about environmental impact behind Adani legal delays
    All up, Adani estimates that it has spent $120 million so far on legal costs and clearing environment hurdles…
    There comes a point, however, when the law is used not to determine issues of right and wrong, but instead exploited as a weapon aimed at causing maximum damage and inconvenience to an opponent.
    This is certainly the case to date with Adani’s experience in Queensland, where the likes of Derec Davies, a former Friends of the Earth activist, has waged “lawfare” against the project, using every possible legal tactic available to frustrate its progress.
    In doing so, Adani opponents have demonstrated scant regard for the opinions of environmental scientists who have assessed the project, and complete disregard for the role of those public bodies charged with assessing each project on its merits.
    Given the environmental hoops that Adani has had to jump through to gain clearance, it would appear most of the opposition to the Galilee venture is born more of an ideological opposition to coal per se, rather than genuine concerns about environmental impacts.
    At least federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt is now considering a shake-up of the lengthy and expensive appeals regimen that currently operates.
    As it stands, more specific Abbott government legislation aimed at preventing Green groups using the courts to sabotage big projects remains stalled in the Senate.
    In Queensland, the Palaszczuk Government abandoned Newman government legislation which placed tighter restrictions on exactly who, in terms of interested parties, was eligible to launch legal proceedings over such approvals, opening the whole scenario once more to a legal free-for-all…


  • #

    ‘Scientists’ must have some strange jobs and nothing better to do. This time commissioned to measure the ground temperature under a bunch of windmills for some reason called a wind farm. Why?
    You would wonder why scientists wasted time at university studying so hard to be given a nutty job like this. The conclusion, that windfarms are eco friendly simply because they do not noticeably heat the ground underneath if you clear away the dead birds? What a relief for those who so worried! So much embarassment then for all those deniers who said windfarms were crazy, useless, expensive, eagle slicers, erratic and the energy not storable. ‘Scientists’ have proven them wrong. Apparently.


  • #

    I recalled this article from MIT several years ago on this subject.

    Here is the abstract also.


  • #
    Roy Hogue

    I don’t get it. The real question to investigate is not, do wind farms have adverse climate effects? It’s, do wind farms have beneficial climate effects? But I guess they can’t answer that one, can they?

    Another failure to understand the basics of policy making I would think.


  • #

    As we speak, it’s raining feathers and bird parts beneath a wind turbine somewhere.


  • #

    A question to the assembled commenters here on Jo’s blog.

    A bit of curiposity in play again and I came up with the Australian Senate’s June 2011 Community Affairs Reference Committee report on The Social and Economic Impact of Rural Wind Farms

    The “Recommendations” from this 2010 / 2011 Senate enquiry are as follows;


    Recommendation 1
    2.44 The Committee considers that the noise standards adopted by the states and territories for the planning and operation of rural wind farms should include appropriate measures to calculate the impact of low frequency noise and vibrations indoors at impacted dwellings.

    Recommendation 2
    2.58 The Committee recommends that the responsible authorities should ensure that complaints are dealt with expeditiously and that the complaints processes should involve an independent arbitrator.
    State and local government agencies responsible for ensuring compliance with planning permissions should be adequately resourced for this activity.

    Recommendation 3
    2.69 The Committee recommends that further consideration be given to the development of policy on separation criteria between residences and wind farm facilities.

    Recommendation 4
    2.101 The Committee recommends that the Commonwealth Government initiate as a matter of priority thorough, adequately resourced epidemiological
    and laboratory studies of the possible effects of wind farms on human health.
    This research must engage across industry and community, and include an advisory process representing the range of interests and concerns.

    Recommendation 5
    2.102 The Committee recommends that the NHMRC review of research should continue, with regular publication.

    Recommendation 6
    2.103 The Committee recommends that the National Acoustics Laboratories conduct a study and assessment of noise impacts of wind farms, including the impacts of infrasound.

    Recommendation 7
    3.99 The Committee recommends that the draft National Wind Farm Development Guidelines be redrafted to include discussion of any adverse health effects and comments made by NHMRC regarding the revision of its 2010 public statement.

    There also exists a 2010 ;National Wind Farm Development Guidelines-Draft

    There was some very heavy legal opposition to these draft guidlines and it is obvious in a quick read of the city based, profit contemplating, pro wind, legal industry’s position that the interests and health and welfare of rural people forced to live in the vicinity of any new wind farms were going to be quite readily sacrificed and dispensed with in outright favour of the interests of the wind farm industry and of the gross profits they were going to p[provide their investors, a number of prominent lawyers no doubt being amongst those investors.

    An example from this legal publication Lawyers Weekly being;

    A Review was issued by the National Health and MedicalResearch Council of Australia in July 2010 concerning wind turbines and health, which concluded that there is no scientific evidence to positively link windturbines with adverse health effects. The Review focused on concerns regarding the adverse health impacts of infrasound, noise, electromagnetic interference, shadow flicker and blade glint produced by wind turbines.

    On a more positive note for proponents, while the NSW Legislative Council’s Wind Farm Inquiry (December 2009) recommended a 2km setback requirement between wind turbines and neighbouring houses as a precautionary approach, in accordance with the conditions of many DCPs in NSW, the Guidelines appropriately do not adopt a 2km set back.
    This position was supported by the NSW Land and Environment Court in the recent approval of the Gullen Range Wind Farm in which it rejected the proposed 2 km setback as “arbitrary”.

    So my questions is;
    Were any of theses guidelines from the 2011 Senate Committee’s report ever adopted and legislated for by any of the Australian states?.

    And if those Senate Guidelines for the wind Industry were legislated for by any States, have they ever been enforced ?

    Or has the whole of these Draft Guidelines for the Wind turbine Industry been buried by political pressure and some large but quite discrete amounts of money dissapearing into the most influential pockets.?


  • #

    South Australians may soon notice the effect of wind farms on their electricity supply:


  • #

    “watching grass grow”

    Specifically, we discovered that operational wind turbines raised air temperature by 0.18 °C and absolute humidity (AH) by 0.03 g m−3 during the night.

    You do not need a PhD to know that wind Turbines which generate electrical current will also generate heat.

    These effects on ground-level microclimate, including soil temperature, have uncertain implications……

    Microclimate ? uncertain impact ?
    As an Engineer one normally performs an Imapact analysis !
    It is very odd that conservation groups often cite “environmental impacts” long before anything is built.

    …Consequently, understanding needs to be improved to determine the overall carbon balance of wind energy.

    These people did not know that electrical generators would warm the surrounding air, how can we possibly trust them to improve their understanding…

    It is so painful to watch the mistakes being made by the Wind energy Industry it is like watching grass grow… 🙁


  • #

    Actually a good read, not a lot of coffee needed. Odd, a thermocouple with a .02 error rate, measured a temperature difference of .018? Unusual. The fudge factor greater then the measurement? Dreaming right? Another bs study. In a bog, with considers of 20 meter average, the sensor is 2 meters off the ground, no shade adjustment mentioned, no ground adjustment, no moisture adjustments, only adjustments made for vertical airflow, would you trust your children to play with them?


  • #

    Wouldn’t wind farms have a chilling effect ? All those dead birds and bats taken out of circulation.
    Wind farms increase utility rates , thus increasing fuel poverty deaths and blight the landscape for
    some politically correct, tax payer subsidized intermittent power . A real win/win .

    As more and more of the “renewable ” charities flame out no one will want to invest in these dogs
    so the scary global warming show will just move onto something new . Who knows maybe a re-launch of scary global cooling .
    Think of the imagery . Frozen polar bears , surf boards frozen in front of Hollywood actors beach front homes . The Horror .
    Time for a rebrand … “climate change ” was just a little too quick and transparent, as in shit it isn’t warming what are we going to do now ?
    Besides you only need Grade 3 to figure out climate changes . No disrespect to those in grade 1 or 2 of course .


  • #

    How are these wind mills made? They require oil to mine the metals, to fire the steel mills that create the metals from the ore. Then the steel must be shipped to a manufacturer to make the wind mill.
    Sooooo, I think there is a climate effect, but…, well you know…..nobody wants to talk about THAT.


  • #

    Interesting this paper shows the effective of urban heat islands and how it can cause localized heating. Therefore is paper shows that urbanization will add bias to temperature trends resulting in higher recorded temperatures.

    Incidentally when you call a coal factory a coal plant it doesn’t sound too bad. Add a little coal.. Water liberally and you can grow your own reliable energy