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4 Million Wind Turbines Could Power Up To Half The World In 2030

Offshore windfarm in Denmark

A new study has debunked claims that wind energy is not a feasible way to power the world due to environmental and power output concerns. It found that wind has the potential to power up to half of the world’s electricity supply with no adverse impact on climate.

Researchers at the University of Delaware and Stanford University have found that about 4 million wind turbines could provide 7.5 terawatts of energy for the world. This is about half of the estimated power needed to run the planet’s power grids in 2030.

“We’ve seen some papers out there that have been somewhat annoying or confusing because they had very low estimates of the total potential of wind energy,” said Christina Archer of the University of Delaware. “We decided to run our own model and we found wind is very abundant – we feel very strongly these previous studies were incorrect.”

Archer worked with coauthor Mark Jacobson of Stanford, running several different models to determine how varying amounts of wind turbines affected the Earth, with one model covering nearly the entire planet in turbines. The findings, according to Archer, suggested that 4 million turbines is an optimal number. After that, additional turbines cause less energy to generate out of each individual one.

Four million turbines sounds like a lot, but Archer says it’s not impossible, and that the benefits are immense. We just have to decide if it’s something we want to do as a society. The technology is already there, so it’s up to us to make the necessary efforts and changes.

So far, only 3% of energy in the United States is generated by wind power, but a 2008 report by the Department of Energy suggested that as much as 20% of it could come from wind by 2030. In China, there are plans to order electrical companies to source up to 15% of all power from wind turbines.

The researchers made sure to point out that there are too many drawbacks to make wind a primary source of power, but it does have potential and is a reliable source for a decent portion of our energy. Do you think the United States will rely on 20% wind power by 2030, or will it be a longer wait?

Image CC licensed by Vattenfall

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