Enough wind to power global energy demand: New research examines limits to wind power, in practical terms, there aren’t any




Near-surface winds could provide more than 20 times today's global power demand..

There is enough energy available in winds to meet all of the world's demand. New research published on September 9 by Nature Climate Change examines the limits of the amount of power that could be harvested from winds, as well as the effects high-altitude wind power could have on the climate as a whole.

Using models, the team was able to determine that more than 400 terrawatts of power could be extracted from surface winds and more than 1,800 terrawatts could be generated by winds extracted throughout the atmosphere. Today, the global power consumption is about 18 TW of power. Near-surface winds could provide more than 20 times today's global power demand and wind turbines on kites could potentially capture 100 times the current global power demand.

For more information, see Nature Climate Change, 2012: Geophysical limits to global wind power, (Kate Marvel, Ben Kravitz, Ken Caldeira).