Why Only A Limited Number Of Wind Farms Will Work In Wyoming
You might think that the place to put a wind turbine is, well, where it is windy.
But there's more to it than that.
As more wind farms are constructed across America many lessons are being learned.
It's just not as simple as planting them and getting energy.
Here are a few reasons why large areas of Wyoming are not compatible with wind farms.
Is it windy enough all the time?
Some places are windy but only some of the time, leaving the turbines sitting around waiting for a push most of the time.
That's not efficient at all.
But what about places that are too windy?
There are areas between mountain ranges, and around mountain gaps, where the wind speed is too great for a wind farm to make sense.
Weatherman Don Day, of Day Weather, uses the analogy of putting a finger over the opening of a garden hose. That pressure has to go somewhere and so it comes shooting out of the small hole at high speed. Mountain ranges and passes do the same thing to air.
What about places that are too gusty?
There are places in Wyoming, for example, that have plenty of wind but the gust factor is the problem.
Winds in these areas can be an average of 9 miles per hour but gust as high as 40 miles an hour, and those big pushes make it impractical to run turbines.
Putting too many turbines in one area makes them ineffective.
There is one case in Texas where a wind farm was cranking away just fine, so someone decided to put another wind farm a few miles up the road in front of it.
Turns out the new wind farm was disrupting the air of the older wind farm down the road.
The result was little electricity being produced at the older wind farm and millions of dollars in revenue lost.
Wind Turbines Cannot Turn When:
It's too hot.
It's too cold.
Too much snow.
Not enough wind.
Too much wind.
All of these things are a problem in Wyoming.
The more wind turbines that are put up the more we learn.
Knowing as much as we do now it turns out that we cannot just fill Wyoming with wind farms and expect a practical result.
A story in the San Diego Times lists the many restrictions to the future construction of wind turbines.
Large areas of federal land are off-limits for environmental reasons.
Wyoming has large areas where sage grouse should be protected as well as migration corridors. That means no building wind farms out there.
Noise restrictions for residential areas.
Entire towns hate the way wind farms take up so much of the land and skyline so they pass restrictive ordinances.
There are many other reasons yet to be addressed such as how toxic these farms are to create and the toxic waste they leave behind due to rare earth minerals.