10 Sep 2012:
Wind Resources Could Meet
Global Energy Demands, Study Says
The earth contains enough wind energy to meet all of humanity’s power needs
if future technologies are able to tap into high-altitude winds, a new study says. Using models to quantify wind energy potential,
researchers at the Carnegie Institution for Science and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory calculated that more than 400 terrawatts of power could be extracted from the planet’s surface winds — which could be accessed with land- and ocean-based turbines — and more than 1,800 terrawatts could be generated by high-altitude winds using technologies that combine turbines and kites. Currently human civilization uses about 18 terrawatts of power. The researchers’ calculations, which are described in the journal Nature Climate Change
, are based on global geophysical limits, and do not take into consideration technical or economic limitations. The study said the effects of extracting enough wind power to meet current global demand would be minimal as long as turbines are scattered worldwide.
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In a Yale Environment 360
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