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.
All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency
Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.
According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.
Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.
“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."
He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."
North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).
The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.