Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Wind power über alles

We have enough wind. And I don't just say that because it is the political season.

Since I report on the bad news all the time, I like to make note of the good news items if they have at least a basis in fact. 

Wind could meet many times world's total power demand by 2030, researchers say
Andrew Myers, Stanford Edu/Stanford School of Engineering, 10 September 2012 (hat tip: NC)

In a new study, researchers at Stanford University's School of Engineering and the University of Delaware developed the most sophisticated weather model available to show that not only is there plenty of wind over land and near to shore to provide half the world's power, but there is enough to exceed total demand by several times if need be, even after accounting for reductions in wind speed caused by turbines.
The findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) by Mark Z. Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford and Cristina Archer, an associate professor of geography and physical ocean science and engineering at the University of Delaware.
Knowing that the potential exists, the researchers turned their attention to how many turbines would be needed to meet half the world's power demand — about 5.75 terawatts — in a 2030 clean-energy economy. To get there, they explored various scenarios of what they call the fixed wind power potential — the maximum power that can be extracted using a specific number of wind turbines. 
Archer and Jacobson showed that four million, five-megawatt turbines operating at a height of 100 meters could supply as much 7.5 terawatts of power — well more than half the world's all-purpose power demand — without significant negative affect on the climate.
I have no problems with any of this.  I certainly don't know enough about the calculations to dispute them.  So what are we to do with this news?

We'll we now have a baseline of what would be needed.  Let's see them get built.  But I can't help it, I just have to say it....

Don't hold your breath.

1 comment:

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