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By 2030 wind power could meet world's total power demand many times

Date Added: September 13, 2012 04:45:00 PM
Author: Branko
Category: Science and Technology: Energy
  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. That shows the most sophisticated weather model available developed by researchers at Stanford University's School of Engineering and the University of Delaware. 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. In the study, their model assumed wind turbines could be installed anywhere and everywhere, without regard to societal, environmental, climatic, or economic considerations. Jacobson and Archer adapted the three-dimensional, atmosphere-ocean-land computer model known as GATOR-GCMOM to calculate the theoretical maximum wind power potential on the planet taking into account wind reduction by turbines. The new paper contradicts two earlier studies that said wind potential falls far short of the aggressive goal because each turbine steals too much wind energy from other turbines, and that turbines introduce harmful climate consequences that would negate some of the positive aspects of renewable wind energy. In their model, Jacobson and Archer exposed individual turbines to winds from several boxes at once; a degree of resolution earlier global models did not match. The new model provides a more sophisticated look than previously possible by separating winds in the atmosphere into hypothetical boxes stacked atop and beside one another. Each box has its own wind speed and weather. "Modeling the climate consequences of wind turbines is complex science. This software allows thatlevel of detail for the first time", said Jacobson. In 2030, if all energy is converted to clean energy, humans will consume about eleven-and-a-half terawatts of power every year, all sources combined. If there is to be a clean-energy economy based on renewable energy, wind power will no doubt have to help meet much of that demand.    
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