Huge Energy Potential in Open Ocean Wind Farms in the North Atlantic

Deep-sea wind farm the size of India could provide enough renewable energy to power the ENTIRE planet

Study says a deep-sea wind farm the size of India is sufficient to fulfill world's power needs

On the shore, the energy generated may be limited to about 1.5 watts per square meter, while the ocean is significantly higher than 6 watts per square meter. Their work is published by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The North Atlantic winds produce tremendous amounts of energy in winter - enough to meet all of civilization's energy needs, in fact - but that in summer they barely produce enough to cover Europe's electricity demand, or the United States'.

The study notes that wind energy gathered on land has an upper limit due to how structures on the land, both natural and manmade, can slow wind speeds. The scientists also note that storms over the mid-latitude oceans regularly transfer wind energy down to the surface from high altitudes making a much higher upper limit on how much energy wind turbines can capture than on land. What is sure is that wind farms in the sea could generate way much more power than over land. At onshore facilities, each turbine weakens the power generation potential of each additional turbine downwind of it in a phenomenon known as a "wind shadow".

New research from the Carnegie Institution for Science has highlighted the "considerable opportunity" of developing offshore wind in the open ocean, which could generate up to three to five times as much energy as wind farms on land. Scientists have calculated that if the wind farm is built on 3 million square kilometers in the ocean, it will generate approximately as much energy as the entire world consumes, writes Independent.

"The real question is", Caldeira said, "can the atmosphere over the ocean move more energy downward than the atmosphere over land is able to?"

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In some areas, particularly the North Atlantic, ocean-based wind farms would be far more potent because the drag introduced by wind turbines would not slow down winds as much as they would on land.

"There is something special about some ocean environments and there are places like the North Atlantic where the Gulf Stream and all of its heat is pouring into the atmosphere", said Caldeira. "On an annual mean basis, the wind power available in the North Atlantic could be sufficient to power the world".

While no commercial-scale deep water wind farms exist at present, the findings suggest the technology is worth pursuing, though the power would vary according to the seasons.

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