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Just One Marine Wind Turbine Farm can Power the Whole World

10 October 2017

The researchers predict that annual electricity-generation rates in the North Atlantic ocean could hit more than 6 watts per square meter.

The whole world can be powered by a single offshore wind turbine farm in the North Atlantic, reports actualno.

The earlier researches have estimated that there might be a high limit of energy amount, which can be produced by the wind farms located on the surface of land.

Though, it is not all about placing wind turbines in the ocean to extract energy. The problem is that turbines deplete the strength of winds downstream from them, creating a phenomenon called "wind shadow" that has proven a bigger issue than predicted. "Will sticking giant wind farms out there just slow down the winds so much that it is no better than over land?"

But the more self-effacing message is that wind energy over the ocean has a huge prospective strengthening the idea that floating wind farms over very extensive waters could be the succeeding paramount move for wind energy technology.

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Co-authors Anna Possner and Ken Caldeira, from the Carnegie Institution for Science at Stanford University, in California, have calculated that a wind farm covering about three million square km (1.2 million square miles) of ocean - roughly the size of India - could theoretically be used to generate "civilisation scale power", or 18 terawatts, humanity's entire current energy needs. The scientists also note that storms over the mid-latitude oceans regularly transfer wind energy down to the surface from high altitudes making a much higher upper limit on how much energy wind turbines can capture than on land.

The reason for this is that North Atlantic winds tap into a huge reservoir of energy created by heat pouring into the atmosphere from the ocean surface. This contrast in surface warming along the United States coast drives the frequent generation of cyclones, or low-pressure systems, that cross the Atlantic and are very efficient in drawing the upper atmosphere's energy down to the height of the turbines.

The new study comes at a time of reckoning for terrestrial wind power.

The duo claim that wind speeds are, on average, 70% higher over the planet's oceans than they are on land.

Just One Marine Wind Turbine Farm can Power the Whole World