Difficult as it is for Cheap Seats to imagine, it appears that all those predictions of limitless power from wind were, uh, overblown.
Turns out that those big propellers take a bite out of the breeze. So much so, in fact, that if a pair of windmills are lined up – meaning one behind the other – the downwind turbine won’t have the same amount of wind as the upwind one.
That might seem obvious to any kid with a couple pinwheels and plenty of time on his hands, but the tech wunderkinds at Harvard did some math and found what they call the “wind shadow,” the area behind the first turbine, which has had the energy drained from it by the work done to spin the upwind turbine.
Cheap Seats knows this because it came out in the the journal Environmental Research Letters, which Cheap Seats scans when blowhards like Al Gore and Mrs. Sen.Mark Udall, aka Maggie Fox, get a bit too tedious and there are no copies of Sports Illustrated nearby.
If you’d like to believe that Cheap Seats follows all the journals so you don’t have to, well, who’s to argue?
Environmental Research Letters suggests that as a result, the generating capacity of large-scale wind farms has been overestimated.
We know, you’re just blown over.
Estimates of the amount of power that could be generated by wind hadn’t accounted for wind shadow, leading to the conclusion that so if you want to conclude that claims about the advantages of wind have been inflated, well, Cheap Seats won’t argue the point.
Cheap Seats always suspected those wind-power whackjobs were a bit puffed up about themselves. Now we know their numbers sure are.