Monday, May 23, 2005

Wind power could do it all by itself

Map Reveals Airstream Potential (By Amit Asaravala, 02:00 AM May. 23, 2005 PT, WIRED NEWS)

Wind power could generate enough electricity to support the world's energy needs several times over, according to a new map of global wind speeds that scientists say is the first of its kind.

The map, compiled by researchers at Stanford University, shows wind speeds at more than 8,000 sites around the world. The researchers found that at least 13 percent of those sites experience winds fast enough to power a modern wind turbine. If turbines were set up in all these regions, they would generate 72 terawatts of electricity, according to the researchers.

That's more than five times the world's energy needs, which was roughly 14 terawatts in 2002, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

The researchers readily admit that existing buildings, land rights and other obstacles would make it impossible to set up turbines in every single one of the identified regions. But they point out that even 20 percent of those sites could satisfy world energy consumption as it stands today.


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