If humans have enough turbines running in the ocean, we could generate enough electricity to power the entire human race, says new research from the National Academy of Sciences
In a paper titled Geophysical potential for wind energy over the open oceans authored by two scientists at the Department of Global Ecology at Carnegie Institution for Science in Standford, California, the researchers provide strong evidence that there is quite a bit of potential for greater downward transport of kinetic energy in the overlying atmosphere. As a result, they write, “wind power generation over some ocean areas can exceed power generation on land by a factor of three or more.”
Three or more is more than just significant when it comes to searching for renewable energy to replace fossil fuels and nuclear power, both which have had disastrous effects on the environment over the past 100 years, the former contributing to global warming at an alarming rate.
While naysayers might point your attention to the fact that the cost of developing, building and deploying floating turbines is most likely going to be very high, the fact remains that MIT scientists have been working on floating turbines for at least the past 4 years, even floating turbine technology that can produce power when there is no wind.
The downside to these findings is that using all that wind energy means it could drastically alter the climate, since wind has a great effect on how plants and animals live. But considering the high cost, the researchers say the study really only provides enough evidence for those already in the wind turbine tech arena to expand, rather than replace current energy generation.
The paper makes a comparison of a theoretical floating wind farm consisting of almost 2 million square kilometers and situated in the same amount of space on land in the U.S. versus that of the Atlantic ocean, finding that covering much of the central U.S. with wind farms wouldn’t quite be enough energy to power up both the U.S. and China, some 7 terawatts annually, or seven trillion watts of power.
However, floating turbines in the North Atlantic could theoretically power those two countries and a whole lot more, considering the amount of potential energy that can be extracted over the ocean in the same amount of area.