As Professor Farnsworth would say in Futurama: “Good news everyone…” there is enough wind energy to provide electricity for the world.
And indeed, with this latest Carnegie research, Kate Marvel of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory announced her team concluded we had enough electricity to meet the world’s demand of energy. This is no slim news and certainly rides on the tail of years of uncertainty complaining about the ill effects of petroleum and then eventual benefits of alternative energy.
Different Types Of Winds. No, we’re not talking about political rhetoric but actual different types of wind. Using models to determine surface and atmospheric winds, the team concluded that surface winds were defined as those that can be accessed by turbines supported by towers on land or rising out of the sea. On the contrary, high-altitude winds are those that can be accessed by technology merging turbines and kites, another promising technology for high yield energy.
Wind Energy, What A Drag. The problem with any liquid, gases and electricity is friction, drag and its loss of efficiency. Indeed, with capturing wind energy with turbines, you create a certain amount of drag which slows down the speed of the wind. In other words, there are only so many wind turbines you can put on a field before you slow down the wind to a non-usable speed. Finding the sweet spot was what the study focused on.
Wind Energy By The Number. The team found the numbers boil down to the potential power harvested from surface winds would equal 400 terrawatts, while the more potent atmospheric winds would yield more than 1,800 terrawatts. To put these numbers into a manageable scope, think of today where our global energy use is about 18 terrawatts of power. This means that near-surface winds could provide more than 20 times today’s total power demand. Add to this extra wind turbines on kites that could potentially capture 100 times the current global power demand and you have an incredible scenario of almost unlimited energy and power for everyone on this planet.
Climate Effects. Another question is what about climate effect? The study did find that climate effects on harvesting wind energy at our current level of demand would be small. This would be as long as wind turbines were spread out and not clustered. At the level of global energy demand, wind turbines might affect surface temperatures by about 0.1 degree Celsius and affect precipitation by about 1%. Although not substantial, this could effect environmentalists’ concerns.
This is good news as we grow weary of political indecision, and wishy-washy programs slowly raising our greener future prospective. Wind energy is becoming the number one choice for clean, renewable and abundant alternative energy for electric vehicles.