Can wind power ever meet the world’s energy needs? A study published this week in Nature Climate Change sought to find the answer to that question.
Right now wind power supplies about 4 percent of electric power in the U.S. but the study found that if we harnessed all the untapped wind, we would have enough to power the world. In fact, the study found that there’s enough wind potential to “power human civilization 100 times over.”
But the authors acknowledged the limitations of the study saying, “We were looking at the geophysical limits of what the Earth could handle. We didn’t necessarily restrict our study to what was feasible,” said Kate Marvel, a researcher at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
If it were feasible, there would be a dramatic increase in turbines, and would require increasing power transmission lines. It’s certainly not a small undertaking, but wind power is rapidly becoming a common source of energy, especially in the Midwest.
In fact, in 2008, the U.S. Department of Energy released a comprehensive report “estimating that wind power could provide, at most, 20 percent of U.S. electricity by 2030.”
Source: Washington Post