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Wind turbines

Offshore wind turbines could power the entire planet, says study

Sunday, August 15, 2010 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: wind turbines, power, health news

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(NaturalNews) Offshore wind turbines could provide enough electricity for the entire world if connected into the right kind of grid, according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Delaware and Stony Brook University and published in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences.

A major drawback of wind power is that as weather patterns fluctuate, the amount of power generated also fluctuates -- making electricity unreliable. To test a way around this problem, researchers examined five years' worth of wind speed data from 11 different monitoring stations along the East Coast of the United States. They found that as expected, wind turbines placed at any of these monitoring stations would fluctuate in their power-generating capacity over time.

The researchers then modeled what would happen if all 11 turbines were connected to each other into one power grid.

"When we simulate a power line connecting them, called here the Atlantic Transmission Grid, the output from the entire set of generators rarely reaches either low or full power, and power changes slowly," the researchers wrote. "Notably, during the five-year study period, the amount of power shifted up and down but never stopped."

The researchers said that for wind power to meet more of civilization's energy needs, turbines need to be strategically sited taking regional weather patterns into account, so that one turbine will be in wind while another is experiencing a lull.

"A north-south transmission geometry fits nicely with the storm track that shifts northward or southward along the U.S. East Coast on a weekly or seasonal time scale," researcher Brian Colle said. "Because then at any one time a high or low pressure system is likely to be producing wind (and thus power) somewhere along the coast."

The study confirms that making wind power into a major energy source would require the construction of a massive new energy infrastructure. Critics of wind and solar power have pointed out that because these power sources require such large-scale construction, their fossil fuel and other environmental footprint is much greater than is usually supposed.

Sources for this story include: http://content.usatoday.com/communities/gree... http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-... http://www.rootforce.org/alternative-energy/.
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