Recent studies led by researchers from the University of North Carolina Charlotte call into question the validity of wind power as a viable source of energy because of how turbines affect wind patterns, National Geographic has reported.
Turbines’ blades steal energy from the wind by creating drag as it passes through. Therefore, each turbine added to a given wind farm results in less energy that the turbines can harness. This is known as the wind-shadow effect.
These factors limit the size that wind farms can be while still being efficient. Paradoxically, in order to produce significant amounts of energy to meet society’s needs, wind farm development would need to expand.
Research studying the wind-shadow effect could be important as the demand for renewable energy increases.
Image: The Brazos Wind Farm near Fluvanna, Texas (Credit: Leaflet, Wikimedia Commons)