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Smarter Turbine Placement Could Make Wind Power Reliable

Posted By Cameron Scott On April 8, 2010 @ 5:00 pm In global warming,green technology,Renewable Energy,Sustainable Design Organizations,Wind Power | 1 Comment

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There’s enough potential wind power [1] in the world to meet demand five times over [2]. The trouble is, wind isn’t reliable: if you live in Iowa, it doesn’t help you that the wind is blowing in Alaska [3]. Green energy naysayers would have us throw up our hands in defeat, but, it turns out, there’s a pretty straightforward solution. A new study [4] found that by placing a series of offshore turbines so that they catch prevailing winds as they shift and then linking them up on the same power line, a constant source of energy can be created.

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The study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, studied wind patterns along the Atlantic coast and hypothesized the placement of a dozen five-megawatt turbines [5] from Maine to Florida. Over five years, weather data indicated that, together, the string of turbines would not have gone dark. And, just as importantly, dips in power production occurred slowly, meaning that utilities would have time to ramp up other power sources to meet demand.

Instead of clumps of turbines in a single windy area — like Cape Wind — the future of wind power may be found in a handful of such regional lines — some offshore [6], some potentially not [7]. That sounds pretty doable, doesn’t it?

Via Science Daily [8]


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URLs in this post:

[1] wind power: http://www.inhabitat.com/energy/wind/

[2] five times over: http://www.wired.com/science/planetearth/news/2005/05/67600

[3] Alaska: http://www.livescience.com/php/multimedia/imagedisplay/img_display.php?pic=world_wind_map_02.jpg&cap=Map+of+global+wind+speeds+at+80+meters+and+averaged+over+all+days+of+the+year+2000+at+locations+with+20+or+more+valid+readings.+Speeds+reaching+6.9+meters+per+second+or+above+have+been+determined+strong+enough+to+be+economically+feasible.+Credit%3A+Journal+of+Geophysical+Research

[4] study: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2010/03/29/0909075107

[5] turbines: http://www.inhabitat.com/2010/03/30/ge-next-gen-offshore-wind-turbine-is-25-more-efficient/

[6] offshore: http://www.inhabitat.com/2010/03/05/hexicons-floating-wind-platform-keeps-wind-farms-afloat/

[7] not: http://www.inhabitat.com/2010/03/08/texas-breaks-u-s-wind-power-generation-record/

[8] Science Daily: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100405152547.htm

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