The planet could run on a single wind farm the size of India
According to Anna Possner and Ken Caldeira, a 3mn sqkm wind power plant, located in the North Atlantic Sea, could supply roughly enough energy to equivalate what the planet uses.
The two from the Carnegie Institution for Science at Stanford University, California reported that the deep-sea wind farm would be placed in the ocean due to wind speeds being on average 70% faster.
Being placed in the ocean also poses a problem, as written in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.
The combined drag of so many turbines could cap the amount of energy from available moving air, converting less energy than expected from such a huge capacity.
However, on land this issue often limits large wind farms to 1.5W per square metre, whereas the research suggests that if placed in the North Atlantic, a farm’s limit would be higher at 6W per square metre.
“We found that giant ocean-based wind farms are able to tap into the energy of the winds throughout much of the atmosphere whereas wind farms onshore remain constrained by the near-surface wind resources,” stated Dr Possner.
The India-sized wind farm would also probably have issues with willing international cooperation and investment.
The amount of energy that the wind farm could produce would be seasonally-dependant, with output dropping to a fifth of the annual average during summer.
Even so, the farm would still produce enough energy during this time to supply electricity to all the countries in the EU.