New study highlights big offshore wind opportunities in North Atlantic


In a statement to HuffPost UK, Emma Pinchbeck, RenewableUK's Executive Director said: "The UK is the world leader in offshore wind and we have just built the first floating wind farm off the coast of Scotland". The research article, by Anna Possner and Ken Caldeira, was published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. This presents an enticing opportunity for generating renewable energy through wind turbines.

Much of the energy that is captured by large wind farms is brought down from the higher atmosphere. 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. Part of the reason wind farms on land can only produce so much energy is that they extract energy from wind that comes from the upper atmosphere. 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.

The collaborators used a climate model to compare the output of a real-life Kansas-based wind farm with a same-size theoretical one, which is located on the North Atlantic ocean.

Wind speeds on the ocean can be as much as 70% higher than on land.

New research from the Carnegie Institution for Science says offshore wind farms situated in the North Atlantic have the potential in the winter to provide sufficient energy to meet all of civilization's current needs.

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"In the summer such wind farms could merely generate enough power to cover the electricity demand of Europe, or possibly the USA alone". By GCR staff0 CommentsA wind farm in the middle of the North Atlantic would be five times as efficient as one onshore and could provide limitless low-priced energy, says a paper published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

However, this tremendous wind power is very seasonal.

This property of open ocean wind means operators could pack turbines closer together and generate more than 6W/mon average, the simulations found.

According to the researchers, the huge wind power resources identified in the study can provide strong incentives to develop lower-cost technologies that can operate in the open-ocean environment and transmit the electricity to land.