Renewable energy sources contribute only a fraction of the amount of energy used in the United States, accounting for only eight percent of total energy consumption in 2014. Of those sources, wind energy makes up about nine percent.

On the surface, wind power appears to be a viable source of alternative energy. It is clean. Water use and discharge are minimal, factors that increase the environmental impact of other sources. However, wind energy may not be the panacea once believed.

Heating Things Up.

A 2010 study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology used computer modeling to determine the effects of large-scale wind farms on the local environment.

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Researchers concluded that meeting the 10 percent wind energy goal for 2100 could cause the very effect that implementation of this alternative energy source is trying to eliminate.

The operation of these wind farms could increase the surrounding surface temperature by 1 °C. Even more disturbing was the fact that air pressure was also affected in the immediate and surrounding area..A 2012 study confirmed these findings through analysis of satellite imagery over a nine-year period in west-central Texas. Researchers in the this study warned of the possibility that changes in surface temperature may negatively impact agriculture, adding to its environmental costs.

The Not-Solution for Global Warming.

A review of the 2007 assessment report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) puts these findings into perspective.

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The report considered the effects of a 1 to 3°C temperature increase above 1990 levels. It concluded that it was very likely that negative effects would result with this change.

IPCC warned of several possible scenarios, including a spike in the erosion of coastal shorelines, changes in ocean water chemistry and loss of biodiversity. Humans may be further affected due to impacts on the food supply and the increased risk of extreme weather events..The fact that wind energy can replicate the temperature effects of greenhouse gas emissions throws a worrisome light about its potential as an alternative fuel source, especially since its effects are not limited to the immediate area. After all, the solution should not create the same problem that is used to prevent.

Adding to the List.

Wind energy has never been without its negative aspects. The aesthetic issue has stood in the way of its widespread implementation. There are also concerns regarding wildlife impacts and potential human health effects. In addition, the materials needed to manufacture wind turbines require extremely invasive processes to extract rare earth elements.

The findings of these studies clearly show that wind energy has yet another major drawback that must be addressed before large-scale implementation. It is the only way to ensure that the cure is not worse than the malady it is supposed to fix. #Science #Renewable Energy