New study reveals windfarms in North Atlantic could meet global power demands


New research from Carnegie Institution for Science in the US has found a solution that could help meet global power demands.

Carried out by Carnegie Institution for Science's Anna Possner and Ken Caldeira, the research suggests that placement of windfarms in the North Atlantic Ocean could supply enough energy to meet global requirements.

However, production in this area would be seasonal, able to meet worldwide demands in the US winter months but not in the summer.

Possner and Caldeira used a range of modelling tools to compare the productivity of large windfarms in Kansas, in comparison to the upscaled, theoretical open-ocean windfarms.

"We found that giant ocean-based windfarms are able to tap into the energy of the winds throughout much of the atmosphere, whereas windfarms onshore remain constrained by the near-surface wind resources."

It was found that in some areas ocean-based windfarms could generate at least three times more power than the land-based facilities.

In addition, the study identified that drag caused by wind turbines would not slow down winds in the North Atlantic Ocean as much as they would on land due to the large amount of heat that is released from the ocean into the atmosphere.

Possner said: “We found that giant ocean-based windfarms are able to tap into the energy of the winds throughout much of the atmosphere, whereas windfarms onshore remain constrained by the near-surface wind resources.”      

The research was supported by the Fund for Innovative Climate and Energy Research and an Carnegie Institution for Science endowment.