Published: Tue, October 10, 2017
Sci-tech | By Carrie Guzman

Offshore wind farms have powerful advantage over land-based turbines, study finds

Offshore wind farms have powerful advantage over land-based turbines, study finds

But he says the paper's "relevance to energy policy is low" since the notion of building wind farms at sea, at the density envisioned in the paper, is still decades in the future.

"Wind power generation over some ocean areas can exceed power generation on land by a factor of three or more" by leveraging far more atmospheric kinetic energy transported downwards over the oceans than is possible over land.

Low-pressure systems at sea, which happen during winter, are able to harness energy from both high- and surface-level winds, meaning the turbines can maintain their wind speed and power output, and cope with the effects of other turbines' wind shadows.

"In the winter, North Atlantic wind farms could provide sufficient energy to meet all of civilization's current needs", claims the report, produced by atmospheric scientist Anna Possner and climatologist Ken Caldiera, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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New research from the Carnegie Institution for Science has highlighted the "considerable opportunity" of developing offshore wind in the open ocean, which could generate up to three to five times as much energy as wind farms on land. On the shore, the energy generated may be limited to about 1.5 watts per square meter, while the ocean is significantly higher than 6 watts per square meter. Greater the number of turbines in a farm, lesser the efficiency as the combined drag from the turbines eventually put a cap on the amount of energy which can be extracted.

Wind farms in the open ocean can generate far more renewable energy than those on land, possibly enough to power the whole world, said a USA study on Monday.

The reason for this is that North Atlantic winds tap into a huge reservoir of energy created by heat pouring into the atmosphere from the ocean surface.

Power generation from a vast North Atlantic wind farm would be seasonal, with output dropping to a fifth of the annual average during the summer, the scientists pointed out. Still, a wind turbine will have to face very harsh conditions of the sea which are also home to one of the most corrosive environments.

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